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Pippa  Passes 



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and  a  Portrait  of  BROWNING 
by  J.  C.  Armytage 






Edinburgh:  T.  and  A.  CONSTABLE.  Printers  to  His  Majesty 


IN  the  preface  to  Paracelsus,  Browning  said  :  '  I  do  not 
very  well  understand  what  is  called  a  Dramatic  Poem , 
wherein  all  those  restrictions  only  submitted  to  on 
account  of  compensating  good  in  the  original  scheme 
are  scrupulously  retained,  as  though  for  some  special 
fitness  in  themselves, — and  all  new  facilities  placed  at 
an  author's  disposal  by  the  vehicle  he  selects,  as 
pertinaciously  rejected.'  'The  canons  of  the  drama,' 
he  declared,  '  are  well  known,  and  I  cannot  but  think 
that,  inasmuch  as  they  have  immediate  regard  to  stage 
representation,  the  peculiar  advantages  they  hold  out 
are  really  such,  only  so  long  as  the  purpose  for  which 
they  were  at  first  instituted  is  kept  in  view.'  Pippa 
Passes  is  a  dramatic  poem,  and  is  perhaps  open  to 
Browning's  own  criticism.  It  may  equally  be  defended 
by  other  words  of  his,  in  the  dedicatory  letter  which  he 
added  in  1863  to  Bordello.  '  My  stress  lay  on  the 
incidents  in  the  development  of  a  soul :  little  else 
is  worth  study :  I,  at  least,  always  thought  so.'  The 
form  of  Pippa  Patses,  in  which  there  are  elements  of 
the  play  and  elements  of  the  masque,  is  a  wholly 
original  one  :  a  series  of  scenes,  connected  only  by  the 
passing  through  them  of  a  single  person,  who  is  outside 
their  action,  and  whose  influence  on  that  action  is 
unconscious.  '  Mr.  Browning,'  says  Mrs.  Sutherland 
Orr  in  her  Handbook,  '  was  walking  alone  in  a  wood 
near  Dulwich,  when  the  image  flashed  upon  him  of 


some  one  walking  thus  alone  through  life ;  one 
apparently  too  obscure  to  leave  a  trace  of  his  or  her 
passage,  yet  exercising  a  lasting  though  unconscious 
influence  at  every  step  of  it ;  and  the  image  shaped 
itself  into  the  little  silk-winder  of  Asolo,  Felippa,  or 
Pippa.'  The  action  takes  place  during  the  morning, 
noon,  afternoon,  and  evening  of  a  single  day ;  and 
between  each  of  the  four  scenes  there  is  an  interlude  of 
'  talk  by  the  way,'  through  which  Pippa  passes.  Each 
scene  represents  the  turning-point  in  a  life,  and,  at 
each  moment  of  crisis,  '  from  without  is  heard  the 
voice  of  Pippa,  singing.'  Something  in  the  song,  ' like 
any  flash  that  cures  the  blind,'  awakens  pity  or 
memory,  or  the  sense  of  God's  presence,  in  the  souls 
of  those  whom  Pippa  has  thought  to  be  '  the  happiest 
four  in  Asolo.'  Each  decides  suddenly  ;  each,  accord- 
ing to  the  terms  of  its  own  nature,  is  saved. 

The  poetry  of  Browning,  says  Walter  Pater  in  a 
passage  of  subtle  and  essential  criticism,  '  is  pre- 
eminently the  poetry  of  situations.  The  characters 
themselves  are  always  of  secondary  importance ;  often 
they  are  characters  in  themselves  of  little  interest ; 
they  seem  to  come  to  him  by  strange  accidents  from 
the  ends  of  the  world.  His  gift  is  shown  by  the  way 
in  which  he  accepts  such  a  character,  and  throws  it 
into  some  situation,  or  apprehends  it  in  some  delicate 
pause  of  life,  in  which  for  a  moment  it  becomes  ideal.' 
Each  of  the  scenes  of  Pippa  Passes  contains  such  a 
situation,  and,  by  a  unique  experiment  in  construction, 
all  are  strung  upon  a  single  thread,  and,  as  Pater, 
speaking  of  a  single  poem,  continues,  the  poem  'has 
the  clear  ring  of  a  central  motive ;  we  receive  from  it 
the  impression  of  one  imaginative  tone,  of  a  single 
creative  act.' 

Pippa  Posset  was  first  published  by  Browning  in  1841, 


as  Part  I.  of  Bells  and  Pomegranates.  In  reprinting  it  in 
the  two  volume  edition  of  his  Poems  in  1849  he  rewrote 
it  throughout,  making  considerable  alterations,  and 
putting  it  into  practically  its  present  form.  In  the 
three  volume  edition  of  his  Poetical  Works,  published 
in  1863,  only  minute  changes  were  made ;  and  it  is 
from  this  edition  that  the  present  text  has  been 
printed.  The  variations  between  the  text  of  1863 
and  the  final  text  are  few  and  unimportant ;  for 
the  most  part  the  change  of  an  '  a '  into  a  '  their,'  of 
a  '  while '  into  a  '  though/  of  '  an  earth's  to  cleave ' 
into  f  an  earth  to  cleave,'  of  '  Shall  I  meet  Lutwyche ' 
into  'Meet  Lutwyche,  I?'  in  order  to  get  rid  of  the 
double  ending.  Only  two  changes  are  of  importance. 
The  last  line  of  the  scene  between  Ottima  and  Sebald 
read  in  the  original  text,  as  it  reads  now  : 

'  Not  me — to  him,  O  God,  be  merciful ! ' 

In  the  edition  of  1863  it  is  changed  for  the  worse,  with 
an  evident  though  awkward  attempt  to  be  more 
explicit,  into  : 

'  Not  to  me,  God — to  him  be  merciful ! ' 

One  line,  equally  needless,  is  introduced  for  the  same 
reason  into  the  last  lines  of  the  poem,  where  it  remains 
without  a  rhyme : 

'Though  I  passed  by  them  all,  and  felt  no  sign.' 

In  later  editions  this  line  quietly  drops  out. 

In  writing  Pippa  Passes,  more  perhaps  than  in  any- 
thing he  ever  wrote,  Browning  wrote  to  please  himself. 
He  created  a  form  of  his  own,  and  he  filled  that  form 
with  an  abounding  and  not  excessive  energy  of  life, 
that  energy  which  is  beauty.  The  scene  between 
Ottima  and  Sebald  has  been  called  Elizabethan :  it  is 


modern,  but  it  is  on  the  level  of  the  best  Elizabethan 
work  in  drama.  The  blank  verse  throughout  is  the 
most  vivid  and  yet  dignified,  the  most  coloured  and 
yet  restrained,  that  Browning  ever  wrote ;  and  he 
never  wrote  anything  better  for  singing  than  some  of 
Pippa's  songs.  I  am  not  sure  whether  Pippa  Passes  can 
be  justly  called  Browning's  masterpiece  ;  but  I  do  not 
know  any  other  of  his  works  which  seems  to  me  so 
nearly  perfect. 





London,  1841.  R.  B. 












LUIGI,  and  his  MOTHER 


MONSIGNOR,  and  his  Attendants 




large,  mean,  airy  chamber.  A  girl,  PIPPA,  from 
the  silk-mills,  springing  out  of  bed. 


Faster  and  more  fast, 
O'er  night's  brim,  day  boils  at  last ; 
Boils,  pure  gold,  o'er  the  cloud-cup's  brim 
Where  spurting  and  supprest  it  lay — 
For  not  a  froth-flake  touched  the  rim 
Of  yonder  gap  in  the  solid  gray 
Of  the  eastern  cloud,  an  hour  away ; 
But  forth  one  wavelet,  then  another,  curled, 
Till  the  whole  sunrise,  not  to  be  supprest, 
Rose,  reddened,  and  its  seething  breast 
Flickered  in  bounds,  grew  gold,  then  overflowed 
the  world. 

Oh,  Day,  if  I  squander  a  wavelet  of  thee, 
A  mite  of  my  twelve-hours'  treasure, 
The  least  of  thy  gazes  or  glances, 
(Be  they  grants  thou  art  bound  to,  or  gifts  above 



One  of  thy  choices,  or  one  of  thy  chances, 

(Be  they  tasks  God  imposed  thee,  or  freaks  at  thy 


— My  Day,  if  I  squander  such  labour  or  leisure, 
Then  shame  fall  on  Asolo,  mischief  on  me  ! 

Thy  long  blue  solemn  hours  serenely  flowing, 
Whence   earth,   we  feel,   gets   steady   help    and 

good — 

Thy  fitful  sunshine-minutes,  coming,  going, 
As  if  earth  turned  from  work  in  gamesome  mood — 
All  shall  be  mine  !     But  thou  must  treat  me  not 
As  the  prosperous  are  treated,  those  who  live 
At  hand  here,  and  enjoy  the  higher  lot, 
In  readiness  to  take  what  thou  wilt  give, 
And  free  to  let  alone  what  thou  refusest ; 
For,  Day,  my  holiday,  if  thou  ill-usest 
Me,  who  am  only  Pippa, — old-year's  sorrow, 
Cast  off  last  night,  will  come  again  to-morrow — 
Whereas,  if  thou  prove  gentle,  I  shall  borrow 
Sufficient  strength  of  thee  for  new-year's  sorrow. 
All  other  men  and  women  that  this  earth 
Belongs  to,  who  all  days  alike  possess, 
Make  general  plenty  cure  particular  dearth, 
Get  more  joy,  one  way,  if  another,  less  : 
Thou  art  my  single  day,  God  lends  to  leaven 
What  were  all  earth  else,  with  a  feel  of  heaven, — 
Sole  light  that  helps  me   through  the  year,  thy 

sun's  ! 
Try,  now !     Take  Asolo's  Four  Happiest  Ones — 


And  let  thy  morning  rain  on  that  superb 

Great  haughty  Ottima  ;  can  rain  disturb 

Her  Sebald's  homage  ?     All  the  while  thy  rain 

Beats  fiercest  on  her  shrub-house  window-pane, 

He  will  but  press  the  closer,  breathe  more  warm 

Against  her   cheek ;   how   should   she   mind   the 

storm  ? 

And,  morning  past,  if  mid-day  shed  a  gloom 
O'er  Jules  and    Phene, — what    care    bride    and 


Save  for  their  dear  selves  ?     'Tis  their  marriage- 
day ; 
And  while  they  leave  church,  and  go  home  their 


Hand  clasping  hand, — within  each  breast  would  be 
Sunbeams  and  pleasant  weather  spite  of  thee  ! 
Then,  for  another  trial,  obscure  thy  eve 
With  mist, — will  Luigi  and  his  mother  grieve — 
The  Lady  and  her  child,  unmatched,  forsooth, 
She  in  her  age,  as  Luigi  in  his  youth, 
For  true   content  ?     The   cheerful    town,   warm, 


And  safe,  the  sooner  that  thou  art  morose, 
Receives  them !     And  yet  once  again,  outbreak 
In  storm  at  night  on  Monsignor,  they  make 
Such  stir  about, — whom  they  expect  from  Rome 
To  visit  Asolo,  his  brothers'  home, 
And  say  here  masses  proper  to  release 
A  soul  from  pain, — what    storm    dares    hurt    his 
peace  ? 


Calm  would  he  pray,  with  his  own    thoughts    to 


Thy  thunder  off,  nor  want  the  angels'  guard  ! 
But  Pippa — just  one  such  mischance  would  spoil 
Her  day  that  lightens  the  next  twelvemonth's  toil 
At  wearisome  silk-winding,  coil  on  coil ! 
And  here  I  let  time  slip  for  nought ! 
Aha,  you  foolhardy  sunbeam — caught 
With  a  single  splash  from  my  ewer ! 
You  that  would  mock  the  best  pursuer, 
Was  my  basin  over-deep  ? 
One  splash  of  water  ruins  you  asleep, 
And  up,  up,  fleet  your  brilliant  bits 
Wheeling  and  counterwheeling, 
Reeling,  broken  beyond  healing — 
Now  grow  together  on  the  ceiling ! 
That  will  task  your  wits  ! 
Whoever  quenched  fire  first,  hoped  to  see 
Morsel  after  morsel  flee 
As  merrily,  as  giddily  .  .  . 
Meantime,  what  lights  my  sunbeam  on, 
Where  settles  by  degrees  the  radiant  cripple  ? 
Oh,  is  it  surely  blown,  my  martagon  ? 
New-blown  and  ruddy  as  St.  Agnes'  nipple, 
Plump  as  the  flesh-bunch  on   some    Turk    bird's 


Be  sure  if  corals,  branching  'neath  the  ripple 
Of  ocean,  bud  there, — fairies  watch  unroll 
Such  turban-flowers;  I  say,  such  lamps  disperse 
Thick  red  flame  through  that  dusk  green  universe  ! 

I  am  queen  of  thee,  floweret ; 

And  each  fleshy  blossom 

Preserve  I  not — (safer 

Than  leaves  that  embower  it, 

Or  shells  that  embosom) 

— From  weevil  and  chafer  ? 

Laugh  through  my  pane,  then;  solicit  the  bee  ; 

Gibe  him,  be  sure  ;  and,  in  midst  of  thy  glee, 

Love  thy  queen,  worship  me  ! 

—Worship  whom  else  ?     For  am  I  not,  this  day, 
Whate'er  I  please  ?     What  shall  I  please  to-day  ? 
My  morning,  noon,  eve,  night — how  spend  my  day  ? 
To-morrow  I  must  be  Pippa  who  winds  silk, 
The  whole  year  round,  to  earn  just  bread  and  milk  : 
But,  this  one  day,  I  have  leave  to  go, 
And  play  out  my  fancy's  fullest  games ; 
I  may  fancy  all  day — and  it  shall  be  so — 
That  I  taste  of  the  pleasures,  am  called  by 

the  names 
Of  the  Happiest  Four  in  our  Asolo  ! 

See !      Up   the    Hill-side    yonder,   through    the 


Some  one  shall  love  me,  as  the  world  calls  love  : 
I  am  no  less  than  Ottima,  take  warning ! 
The  gardens,  and  the  great  stone  house  above, 
And  other  house  for  shrubs,  all  glass  in  front, 
Are  mine ;  where  Sebald  steals,  as  he  is  wont, 
To  court  me,  while  old  Luca  yet  reposes ; 
And  therefore,  till  the  shrub-house  door  uncloses, 


I  ...  what,  now  ? — give  abundant  cause  for  prate 

About  me — Ottima,  I  mean — of  late, 

Too  bold,  too  confident  she  '11  still  face  down 

The  spitefullest  of  talkers  in  our  town — 

How  we  talk  in  the  little  town  below ! 

But  love,  love,  love — there 's  better  love,  I  know ! 
This  foolish  love  was  only  day's  first  offer ; 
I  choose  my  next  love  to  defy  the  scoffer : 
For  do  not  our  Bride  and  Bridegroom  sally 
Out  of  Possagno  church  at  noon  ? 
Their  house  looks  over  Orcana  valley — 
Why  should  not  I  be  the  bride  as  soon 
As  Ottima  ?     For  I  saw,  beside, 
Arrive  last  night  that  little  bride — 
Saw,  if  you  call  it  seeing  her,  one  flash 
Of  the  pale,  snow-pure  cheek  and  black  bright 


Blacker  than  all  except  the  black  eyelash ; 
I  wonder  she  contrives  those  lids  no  dresses ! 
— So  strict  was  she,  the  veil 
Should  cover  close  her  pale 

Pure  cheeks — a  bride  to  look  at  and  scarce  touch, 
Scarce    touch,    remember,    Jules ! — for    are   not 


Used  to  be  tended,  flower-like,  every  feature, 
As  if  one's  breath  would  fray  the  lily  of  a  creature  ? 
A  soft  and  easy  life  these  ladies  lead ! 
Whiteness  in  us  were  wonderful  indeed. 

Oh,  save  that  brow  its  virgin  dimness, 

Keep  that  foot  its  lady  primness, 

Let  those  ankles  never  swerve 

From  their  exquisite  reserve, 

Yet  have  to  trip  along  the  streets  like  me, 

All  but  naked  to  the  knee ! 

How  will  she  ever  grant  her  Jules  a  bliss 

So  startling  as  her  real  first  infant  kiss  ? 

Oh,  no — not  envy,  this  ! 

— Not  envy,  sure  ! — for  if  you  gave  me 

Leave  to  take  or  to  refuse, 

In  earnest,  do  you  think  I  'd  choose 

That  sort  of  new  love  to  enslave  me  ? 

Mine  should   have   lapped   me   round   from   the 

beginning ; 

As  little  fear  of  losing  it  as  winning  ! 
Lovers   grow    cold,    men    learn    to    hate    their 


And  only  parents'  love  can  last  our  lives. 
At  eve  the  son  and  mother,  gentle  pair, 
Commune  inside  our  Turret ;  what  prevents 
My  being  Luigi  ?  while  that  mossy  lair 
Of  lizards  through  the  winter-time,  is  stirred 
With  each  to  each  imparting  sweet  intents 
For  this  new-year,  as  brooding  bird  to  bird — 
(For  I  observe  of  late,  the  evening  walk 
Of  Luigi  and  his  mother,  always  ends 
Inside  our  ruined  turret,  where  they  talk, 
Calmer  than  lovers,  yet  more  kind  than  friends) 
— Let  me  be  cared  about,  kept  out  of  harm, 
And  schemed  for,  safe  in  love  as  with  a  charm ; 


Let  me  be  Luigi !     If  I  only  knew 

What  was  my  mother's  face — my  father,  too  ! 

Nay,  if  you  come  to  that,  best  love  of  all 

Is  God's ;  then  why  not  have  God's  love  befall 

Myself  as,  in  the  Palace  by  the  Dome, 

Monsignor  ? — who  to-night  will  bless  the  home 

Of  his  dead  brother ;  and  God  will  bless  in  turn 

That  heart  which  beats,  those  eyes  which  mildly 


With  love  for  all  men :  I,  to-night  at  least, 
Would  be  that  holy  and  beloved  priest ! 

Now  wait ! — even  I  already  seem  to  share 

In    God's    love:    what    does    New-year's    hymn 

declare  ? 
What  other  meaning  do  these  verses  bear  ? 

All  service  ranks  the  same  with  God  : 

If  now,  as  formerly  He  trod 

Paradise,  His  presence  Jills 

Our  earth,  each  only  as  God  wills 

Can  rvork — God's  puppets,  best  and  worst, 

Are  we  ;  there  is  no  last  nor  first. 

Say  not  '  a  small  event  ! '      Why  '  small  ?  ' 
Costs  it  more  pain  that  this,  ye  call 
A  '  great  event,'  should  come  to  pass, 
Than  that  ?     Untwine  me  from  the  mass 
Of  deeds  which  make  up  life,  one  deed 
Power  shall  fall  short  in,  or  exceed  I 


And  more  of  it,  and  more  of  it ! — oh,  yes — 

I  will  pass  by,  and  see  their  happiness, 

And  envy  none — being  just  as  great,  no  doubt, 

Useful  to  men,  and  dear  to  God,  as  they ! 

A  pretty  thing  to  care  about 

So  mightily,  this  single  holiday  ! 

But  let  the  sun  shine  !     Wherefore  repine  ? 
— With  thee  to  lead  me,  O  Day  of  mine, 
Down  the  grass-path  grey  with  dew, 
Under  the  pine-wood,  blind  with  boughs, 
Where  the  swallow  never  flew 
As  yet,  nor  cicala  dared  carouse — 
Dared  carouse ! 

[She  enters  the  street. 





Jp  ike  Hill-side,  inside  the  Shrub-house.  LUCA'S 
Wife,  OTTIMA,  and  her  Paramour,  the  German 

SEB.  [«'ng*.]     Let  the  matching  lids  wink  ! 

Day  's  a-blaze  with  eyes,  think — 
Deep  into  the  night,  drink  ! 
OTTI.  Night  ?     Such  may  be  your  Rhine-land 

nights,  perhaps ; 
Jut  this  blood-red  beam  through    the  shutter's 


— We  call  such  light,  the  morning's :  let  us  see  ! 
blind  how  you  grope  your  way,  though  !     How 

these  tall 

'Jaked  geraniums  straggle  !     Push  the  lattice 
Behind  that  frame  ! — Nay,  do  I  bid  you  ? — Sebald, 
t  shakes  the  dust  down  on  me !     Why,  of  course 
The  slide-bolt  catches. — Well,  are  you  content, 
Or  must  I  find  you  something  else  to  spoil  ? 
£iss  and  be  friends,  my  Sebald  !     Is  it  full  morning  ? 
Oh,  don't  speak  then  ! 

SEB.  Ay,  thus  it  used  to  be  ! 

Ever  your  house  was,  I  remember,  shut 
Fill  mid-day — I  observed  that,  as  I  strolled 



On  mornings  through  the  vale  here  :  country  girls 
Were  noisy,  washing  garments  in  the  brook, 
Hinds  drove  the  slow  white  oxen  up  the  hills, 
But  no,  your  house  was  mute,  would  ope  no  eye  ! 
And  wisely — you  were  plotting  one  thing  there, 
Nature,  another  outside  :  I  looked  up — 
Rough  white  wood  shutters,  rusty  iron  bars, 
Silent  as  death,  blind  in  a  flood  of  light. 
Oh,  I  remember ! — and  the  peasants  laughed 
And  said,  'The  old  man  sleeps  with  the  young 

This  house  was  his,  this  chair,  this  window — his ! 

OTTI.  Ah,  the   clear    morning !    I  can   see  St. 

Mark's : 

That  black  streak  is  the  belfry.     Stop,  Vicenza 
Should  lie  ...  There 's  Padua,  plain  enough,  that 

Look  o'er  my  shoulder,  follow  my  finger. 

SEB.  Morning  ? 

It  seems  to  me  a  night  with  a  sun  added. 
Where 's  dew  ?     where 's  freshness  ?    That  bruised 

plant,  I  bruised 

In  getting  through  the  lattice  yestereve, 
Droops  as  it  did.     See,  here  's  my  elbow's  mark 
In  the  dust  on  the  sill. 

OTTI.  Oh  shut  the  lattice,  pray ! 

SEB.  Let  me  lean  out.    I  cannot  scent  blood  here, 
Foul  as  the  morn  may  be. 

There,  shut  the  world  out! 
How  do  you  feel  now,  Ottima  ?     There,  curse 


The  world  and  all  outside !     Let  us  throw  off 
This  mask  :  how  do  you  bear  yourself?     Let 's  out 
With  all  of  it ! 

OTTI.  Best  never  speak  of  it. 

SEB.  Best  speak  again  and  yet  again  of  it, 
Till   words  cease  to  be  more  than  words.     '  His 

For  instance — let   those   two  words  mean    'His 

blood ' 

And  nothing  more.     Notice,  I  '11  say  them  now, 
« His  blood.' 

OTTI.  Assuredly  if  I  repented 

[The  deed— 

SEB.  Repent  ?  who  should  repent,  or  why  ? 

[What  puts  that  in  your  head?     Did  I  once  say 
[That  I  repented  ? 

OTTI.  No,  I  said  the  deed — 

SEB.  'The  deed/  and  'the  event' — just  now  it 


[•'  Our  passion's  fruit ' — the  devil  take  such  cant ! 
I  Say,  once  and  always,  Luca  was  a  wittol, 
|[  am  his  cut-throat,  you  are — 

OTTI.  Here  is  the  wine ; 

brought  it  when  we  left  the  house  above, 
jAnd   glasses   too — wine   of  both    sorts.     Black? 

white,  then  ? 
SEB.  .But  am  not  I  his  cut-throat  ?     What  are 


OTTI.  There,  trudges  on  his  business  from  the 


Benet  the  Capuchin,  with  his  brown  hood 
And  bare  feet — always  in  one  place  at  church, 
Close  under  the  stone  wall  by  the  south  entry. 
I  used  to  take  him  for  a  brown  cold  piece 
Of  the  wall's  self,  as  out  of  it  he  rose 
To  let  me  pass — at  first,  I  say,  I  used — 
Now,  so  has  that  dumb  figure  fastened  on  me, 
I  rather  should  account  the  plastered  wall 
A  piece  of  him,  so  chilly  does  it  strike. 
This,  Sebald  ? 

SEB.          No — the  white  wine — the  white  wine  ! 
Well,  Ottima,  I  promised  no  new  year 
Should  rise  on  us  the  ancient  shameful  way, 
Nor  does  it  rise  :  pour  on  !     To  your  black  eyes ! 
Do  you  remember  last  damned  New  Year's  day  ? 

OTTI.  You  brought  those  foreign   prints.     We 

looked  at  them 

Over  the  wine  and  fruit.     I  had  to  scheme 
To  get  him  from  the  fire.     Nothing  but  saying 
His  own  set  wants  the  proof-mark,  roused  him  up 
To  hunt  them  out. 

SEB.  'Faith,  he  is  not  alive 

To  fondle  you  before  my  face  ! 

OTTI.  Do  you 

Fondle  Sue,  then  !  who  means  to  take  your  life 
For  that,  my  Sebald  ? 
SEB.  Hark  you,  Ottima, 

One  thing  's  to  guard  against.     We  '11  not  make 

One  of  the  other — that  is,  not  make  more 


Parade  of  warmth,  childish  officious  coil, 
Than  yesterday — as  if,  Sweet,  I  supposed 
Proof  upon  proof  was  needed  now,  now  first, 
To   show  I  love   you — yes,  still  love   you — love 


In  spite  of  Luca  and  what 's  come  to  him 
— Sure  sign  we  had  him  ever  in  our  thoughts, 
White  sneering  old  reproachful  face  and  all ! 
We  '11  even  quarrel,  Love,  at  times,  as  if 
We  still  could  lose  each  other,  were  not  tied 
By  this — conceive  you  ? 

OTTI.  Love ! 

SEB.  Not  tied  so  sure  ! 

Because  though  I  was  wrought  upon,  have  struck 
His  insolence  back  into  him — am  I 
So  surely  yours  ? — therefore,  forever  yours  ? 

OTTI.  Love,    to    be   wise,   (one    counsel    pays 

Should    we    have — months    ago — when   first   we 


For  instance  that  May  morning  we  two  stole 
Under  the  green  ascent  of  sycamores — 
If  we  had  come  upon  a  thing  like  that 
Suddenly  . .  . 

SEB.  '  A  thing ' — there  again — '  a  thing  ! ' 

OTTI.  Then,  Venus'  body,  had  we  come  upon 
My  husband  Luca  Gaddi's  murdered  corpse 
Within  there,  at  his  couch-foot,  covered  close — 
Would  you  have  pored  upon  it  ?     Why  persist 
In  poring  now  upon  it  ?     For  'tis  here 


As  much  as  there  in  the  deserted  house  : 
You  cannot  rid  your  eyes  of  it.     For  me, 
Now  he  is  dead  I  hate  him  worse — I  hate  .  .  . 
Dare  you  stay  here  ?     I  would  go  back  and  hold 
His  two  dead  hands,  and  say,  I  hate  you  worse 
Luca,  than  .  .  . 

SEE.  Off,  off;  take  your  hands  off  mine! 

'Tis  the  hot  evening — off!  oh,  morning,  is  it  ? 
OTTI.  There 's  one   thing  must   be    done ;  you 

know  what  thing. 

Come  in  and  help  to  carry.     We  may  sleep 
Anywhere  in  the  whole  wide  house  to-night. 
SEE.  What  would  come,  think  you,  if  we  let 

him  lie 

Just  as  he  is  ?     Let  him  lie  there  until 
The  angels  take  him :  he  is  turned  by  this 
Off  from  his  face,  beside,  as  you  will  see. 

OTTI.  This  dusty  pane  might  serve  for  looking- 

Three,  four — four  grey  hairs  !     Is  it  so  you  said 
A  plait  of  hair  should  wave  across  my  neck  ? 
No — this  way  ! 

SEE.  Ottima,  I  would  give  your  neck, 

Each   splendid  shoulder,   both    those  breasts  of 

That    this   were    undone  !      Killing  ? — Kill    the 


So  Luca  lives  again  ! — ay,  lives  to  sputter 
His  fulsome  dotage  on  you — yes,  and  feign 
Surprise  that  I  returned  at  eve  to  sup, 


When  all  the  morning  I  was  loitering  here — 
Bid  me  dispatch  my  business  and  begone. 
I  would  .  .  . 

OTTI.  See ! 

SEB.  No,  I  '11  finish !     Do  you  think 

I  fear  to  speak  the  bare  truth  once  for  all  ? 
All  we  have  talked  of  is,  at  bottom,  fine 
To  suffer — there  's  a  recompense  in  guilt; 
One  must  be  venturous  and  fortunate  : 
What  is  one  young  for,  else  ?     In  age  we  '11  sigh 
O'er  the  wild,  reckless,  wicked  days  flown  over; 
Still,  we  have  lived  !     The  vice  was  in  its  place. 
But  to  have  eaten  Luca's  bread,  have  worn 
His  clothes,  have  felt  his  money  swell  my  purse — 
Do  lovers  in  romances  sin  that  way  ? 
Why,  I  was  starving  when  I  used  to  call 
And  teach  you  music,  starving  while  you  plucked 

These  flowers  to  smell ! 

OTTI.  My  poor  lost  friend  ! 

SEB.  He  gave  me 

Life,  nothing  less  :  what  if  he  did  reproach 
My  perfidy,  and  threaten,  and  do  more — 
Had  he  no  right  ?     What  was  to  wonder  at  ? 
He  sat  by  us  at  table  quietly — 
Why  must  you  lean  across  till  our  cheeks  touched  ? 
Could  he  do  less  than  make  pretence  to   strike 

me  ? 

'Tis  not  for  the  crime's  sake — I  'd  commit   ten 


Greater,  to  have  this  crime  wiped  out,  undone  ! 
And  you — O,  how  feel  you  ?  feel  you  for  me  ? 

OTTI.  Well,  then,  I  love  you  better  now  than 


And  best  (look  at  me  while  I  speak  to  you) — 
Best  for  the  crime ;  nor  do  I  grieve,  in  truth, 
This  mask,  this  simulated  ignorance, 
This  affectation  of  simplicity, 
Falls  off  our  crime ;  this  naked  crime  of  ours 
May  not,  now,  be   looked  over;  look   it    down, 


Great  ?  let  it  be  great ;  but  the  joys  it  brought, 
Pay  they  or  no  its  price  ?     Come :  they  or  it ! 
Speak  not !     The  Past,  would  you  give  up  the  Past 
Such  as  it  is,  pleasure  and  crime  together  ? 
Give  up  that  noon  I  owned  my  love  for  you  ? 
The  garden's  silence  !  even  the  single  bee 
Persisting  in  his  toil,  suddenly  stopt ; 
And  where  he  hid  you  only  could  surmise 
By  some  campanula's  chalice  set  a-swing  : 
Who  stammered — '  Yes,  I  love  you  ? ' 

SEB.  And  I  drew 

Back ;  put  far  back  your  face  with  both  my  hands 
Lest  you  should  grow  too  full  of  me — your  face 
So  seemed  athirst  for  my  whole  soul  and  body  ! 

OTTI.  And   when   I   ventured   to   receive   you 

Made  you  steal  hither  in  the  mornings — 

SEB.  When 

I  used  to  look  up  'neath  the  shrub-house  here. 


Till  the  red  fire  on  its  glazed  windows  spread 
To  a  yellow  haze  ? 

OTTI.  Ah — my  sign  was,  the  sun 

Inflamed  the  sere  side  of  yon  chestnut-tree 
Nipt  by  the  first  frost. 

SEB.  You  would  always  laugh 

At  my  wet  boots  :  I  had  to  stride  thro'  grass 
Over  my  ankles. 

OTTI.  Then  our  crowning  night ! 

SEB.  The  July  night  ? 

OTTI.  The  day  of  it  too,  Sebald  ! 

When  the  heaven's  pillars  seemed  o'erbowed  with 


Its  black-blue  canopy  seemed  let  descend 
Close  on  us  both,  to  weigh  down  each  to  each, 
And  smother  up  all  life  except  our  life. 
So  lay  we  till  the  storm  came. 

SEB.  How  it  came  ! 

OTTI.  Buried  in  woods  we  lay,  you  recollect ; 
Swift  ran  the  searching  tempest  overhead ; 
And  ever  and  anon  some  bright  white  shaft 
Burnt  thro'   the  pine-tree  roof,  here  burnt  and 


As  if  God's  messenger  thro'  the  close  wood  screen 
Plunged  and  replunged  his  weapon  at  a  venture, 
Feeling  for  guilty  thee  and  me  :  then  broke 
The  thunder  like  a  whole  sea  overhead — 

SBB.  Yes  ! 

OTTI.  While    I    stretched    myself    upon    you, 


To    hands,   my   mouth   to  your  hot    mouth,   and 


All  my  locks  loose,  and  covered  you  with  them— 
You,  Sebald,  the  same  you  ! 

SEE.  Slower,  Ottima — 

OTTI.  And  as  we  lay — 

SEB.  Less  vehemently  !    Love  me ! 

Forgive    me !    take    not    words,    mere    words,  to 

heart ! 
Your  breath  is  worse  than  wine.     Breathe  slow, 

speak  slow ! 
Do  not  lean  on  me  ! 

OTTI.  Sebald,  as  we  lay, 

Rising  and  falling  only  with  our  pants, 
Who  said,  'Let  death  come  now!   'tis  right  to 

Right    to    be  punished !  nought  completes  such 

But  woe ! '     Who  said  that  ? 

SEB.  How  did  we  ever  rise  ? 

Was  't  that  we  slept  ?     Why  did  it  end  ? 

OTTI.  I  felt  you, 

Tapering  into  a  point  the  ruffled  ends 
Of  my  loose  locks  'twixt  both  your  humid  lips — 
(My  hair  is  fallen  now  :  knot  it  again  !) 

SEB.  I  kiss  you  now,  dear  Ottima,  now,  and 

now ! 

This  way  ?     Will  you  forgive  me — be  once  more 
My  great  queen? 

OTTI.  Bind  it  thrice  about  my  brow ; 


Crown  me  your  queen,  your  spirit's  arbitress, 
Magnificent  in  sin.     Say  that ! 

SEE.  I  crown  you 

My  great  white  queen,  my  spirit's  arbitress, 
Magnificent  .  .  . 

[From  without  is  heard  the  voice  of  PIPPA, 

The  year  's  at  the  spring, 
And  day  's  at  the  morn  ; 
Morning's  at  seven; 
The  hill-side 's  den-pearled  ; 
The  lark  's  on  the  wing  ; 
The  snail 's  on  the  thorn  ; 
God 's  in  His  heaven — 
All 's  right  tvith  the  world  ! 

[  PIPPA  passes. 

SEB.  God  's  in  His  heaven !     Do  you  hear  that  ? 

Who  spoke  ? 
You,  you  spoke  ! 

OTTI.  Oh — that  little  ragged  girl ! 

She  must  have  rested  on  the  step :  we  give  them 
But  this  one  holiday  the  whole  year  round. 
Did  you  ever  see  our  silk-mills — their  inside  ? 
There  are  ten  silk-mills  now  belong  to  you. 
She  stoops  to  pick  my  double  heartsease  .  .  .  Sh  ! 
She  does  not  hear  :  call  you  out  louder  ! 

SEB.  Leave  me  ! 

Go,  get  your  clothes  on — dress  those  shoulders ! 


OTTI.  Sebald  ? 

SEB.  Wipe  off  that  paint.     I  hate  you  ! 

OTTI.  Miserable ! 

SEB.  My  God  !  and  she  is  emptied  of  it  now  ! 
Outright  now ! — how  miraculously  gone 
All  of  the  grace — had  she  not  strange  grace  once  ? 
Why,  the  blank  cheek  hangs  listless  as  it  likes, 
No  purpose  holds  the  features  up  together, 
Only  the  cloven  brow  and  puckered  chin 
Stay  in  their  places — and  the  very  hair, 
That  seemed  to  have  a  sort  of  life  in  it, 
Drops,  a  dead  web  ! 

OTTI.  Speak  to  me — speak  not  of  me  ! 

SEB. — That  round  great  full-orbed  face,  where 

not  an  angle 
Broke  the  delicious  indolence — all  broken  ! 

OTTI.  To  me — not  of  me  ! — ungrateful,  perjured 

cheat ! 

A  coward,  too :  but  ingrate  's  worse  than  all ! 
Beggar — my  slave — a  fawning,  cringing  lie  ! 
Leave  me !     Betray  me  !     I  can  see  your  drift ! 
A  lie  that  walks,  and  eats,  and  drinks  ! 

SEB.  My  God ! 

Those  morbid,  olive,  faultless  shoulder-blades — 
I  should  have  known  there  was  no  blood  beneath  ! 

OTTI.  You  hate  me,  then  ?     You  hate  me,  then  ? 

SEB.  To  think 

She  would  succeed  in  her  absurd  attempt, 
And  fascinate  by  sinning ;  and  show  herself 
Superior — Guilt  from  its  excess,  superior 


To  Innocence  !     That  little  peasant's  voice 

Has  righted  all  again.     Though  I  be  lost, 

I  know  which  is  the  better,  never  fear, 

Of  vice  or  virtue,  purity  or  lust, 

Nature,  or  trick  !     I  see  what  I  have  done, 

Entirely  now  !     Oh,  I  am  proud  to  feel 

Such  torments — let  the  world  take  credit  thence — 

I,  having  done  my  deed,  pay  too  its  price ! 

I  hate,  hate — curse  you  !     God 's  in  His  heaven ! 

OTTI.  — Me ! 

Me  !  no,  no,  Sebald,  not  yourself — kill  me ! 
Mine  is  the  whole  crime — do  but  kill  me — then 
Yourself — then — presently — first  hear  me  speak — 
I  always  meant  to  kill  myself — wait,  you  ! 
Lean  on  my  breast — not  as  a  breast ;  don't  love 


The  more  because  you  lean  on  me,  my  own 
Heart's    Sebald!       There  —  there — both    deaths 

presently ! 
SEB.  My  brain  is  drowned  now — quite  drowned  : 

all  I  feel 

Is  ...  is,  at  swift-recurring  intervals, 
A  hurrying-down  within  me,  as  of  waters 
Loosened  to  smother  up  some  ghastly  pit : 
There  they  go — whirls  from  a  black,  fiery  sea  ! 
OTTI.  Not  to  me,  God — to  him  be  merciful ! 


Talk  by  the  rvay,  while  PIPPA  is  passing  from  the 
Hill-side  to  Orcana.  Foreign  Students  of  Paint- 
ing and  Sculpture,  from  Venice,  assembled 
opposite  the  house  of  JULES,  a  young  French 

IST  STUDENT.  Attention !  my  own  post  is 
beneath  this  window,  but  the  pomegranate  clump 
yonder  will  hide  three  or  four  of  you  with  a  little 
squeezing,  and  Schramm  and  his  pipe  must  lie  flat 
in  the  balcony.  Four,  five — who  's  a  defaulter  ? 
We  want  everybody,  for  Jules  must  not  be 
suffered  to  hurt  his  bride  when  the  jest 's  found 

2ND  STUD.  All  here  !  Only  our  poet 's  away 
— never  having  much  meant  to  be  present,  moon- 
strike  him  !  The  airs  of  that  fellow,  that  Gio- 
vacchino !  He  was  in  violent  love  with  himself, 
and  had  a  fair  prospect  of  thriving  in  his  suit,  so 
unmolested  was  it, — when  suddenly  a  woman  falls 
in  love  with  him,  too ;  and  out  of  pure  jealousy  he 
takes  himself  off  to  Trieste,  immortal  poem  and  all 
— whereto  is  this  prophetical  epitaph  appended 
already,  as  Bluphocks  assures  me  — '  Here  a 
mammoth-poem  lies,  Fouled  to  death  by  butterflies.' 
His  own  fault,  the  simpleton  !  Instead  of  cramp 
couplets,  each  like  a  knife  in  your  entrails,  he 
should  write,  says  Bluphocks,  both  classically  and 
intelligibly. — jEsculapius,  an  Epic.  Catalogue  of 
the  drugs  :  Hebe's  plaister — One  strip  Cools  your  lip. 


Phoebus'  emulsion — One  bottle  Clears  your  throttle. 
Mercury's  bolus — One  box  Cures  .  .  . 

SRD  STUD.  Subside,  my  fine  fellow !  If  the 
marriage  was  over  by  ten  o'clock,  Jules  will 
certainly  be  here  in  a  minute  with  his  bride. 

SND  STUD.  Good! — Only,  so  should  the  poet's 
muse  have  been  universally  acceptable,  says 
Bluphocks,  et  canibus  nostris  .  .  .  and  Delia  not 
better  known  to  our  literary  dogs  than  the  boy — 
Giovacchino ! 

IST  STUD.  To  the  point,  now.  Where's  Gott- 
lieb, the  new-comer?  Oh, — listen,  Gottlieb,  to 
what  has  called  down  this  piece  of  friendly 
vengeance  on  Jules,  of  which  we  now  assemble  to 
witness  the  winding-up.  We  are  all  agreed,  all  in 
a  tale,  observe,  when  Jules  shall  burst  out  on  us  in 
a  fury  by-and-by :  I  am  spokesman — the  verses 
that  are  to  undeceive  Jules  bear  my  name  of 
Lutwyche — but  each  professes  himself  alike  in- 
sulted by  this  strutting  stone-squarer,  who  came 
singly  from  Paris  to  Munich,  and  thence  with  a 
crowd  of  us  to  Venice  and  Possagno  here,  but 
proceeds  in  a  day  or  two  alone  again — oh,  alone, 
indubitably ! — to  Rome  and  Florence.  He,  for- 
sooth, take  up  his  portion  with  these  dissolute, 
brutalised,  heartless  bunglers! — So  he  was  heard 
to  call  us  all :  now,  is  Schramm  brutalised,  I 
should  like  to  know  ?  Am  I  heartless  ? 

GOTT.  Why,  somewhat  heartless ;  for,  suppose 
Jules  a  coxcomb  as  much  as  you  choose,  still,  for 


this  mere  coxcombry,  you  will  have  brushed  off — 
what  do  folks  style  it  ?— the  bloom  of  his  life.  Is 
it  too  late  to  alter  ?  These  love-letters,  now,  you 
call  his — I  can't  laugh  at  them. 

4>TH  STUD.  Because  you  never  read  the  sham 
letters  of  our  inditing  which  drew  forth  these. 

GOTT.  His  discovery  of  the  truth  will  be  frightful. 

4-TH  STUD.  That 's  the  joke.  But  you  should 
have  joined  us  at  the  beginning :  there 's  no  doubt 
he  loves  the  girl — loves  a  model  he  might  hire  by 
the  hour  ! 

GOTT.  See  here  !  '  He  has  been  accustomed,'  he 
writes,  fto  have  Canova's  women  about  him,  in 
stone,  and  the  world's  women  beside  him,  in  flesh  ; 
these  being  as  much  below,  as  those,  above — his 
soul's  aspiration :  but  now  he  is  to  have  the  real.' 
There  you  laugh  again  !  I  say,  you  wipe  off  the 
very  dew  of  his  youth. 

IST  STUD.  Schramm  !  (Take  the  pipe  out  of  his 
mouth,  somebody.)  Will  Jules  lose  the  bloom  of 
his  youth  ? 

SCHRAMM.  Nothing  worth  keeping  is  ever  lost  in 
this  world  :  look  at  a  blossom — it  drops  presently, 
having  done  its  service  and  lasted  its  time ;  but 
fruits  succeed,  and  where  would  be  the  blossom's 
place  could  it  continue  ?  As  well  affirm  that  your 
eye  is  no  longer  in  your  body,  because  its  earliest 
favourite,  whatever  it  may  have  first  loved  to  look 
on,  is  dead  and  done  with — as  that  any  affection  is 
lost  to  the  soul  when  its  first  object,  whatever 


happened  first  to  satisfy  it,  is  superseded  in  due 
course.  Keep  but  ever  looking,  whether  with  the 
body's  eye  or  the  mind's,  and  you  will  soon  find 
something  to  look  on  !  Has  a  man  done  wonder- 
ing at  women  ? — There  follow  men,  dead  and  alive, 
to  wonder  at.  Has  he  done  wondering  at  men  ? — 
There's  God  to  wonder  at:  and  the  faculty  of 
wonder  may  be,  at  the  same  time,  old  and  tired 
enough  with  respect  to  its  first  object,  and  yet 
young  and  fresh  sufficiently  so  far  as  concerns  its 
novel  one.  Thus  .  .  . 

IST  STUD.  Put  Schramm's  pipe  into  his  mouth 
again  !  There,  you  see  !  Well,  this  Jules  ...  a 
wretched  fribble — oh,  I  watched  his  disportings  at 
Possagno,  the  other  day  !  Canova's  gallery — you 
know  :  there  he  marches  first  resolvedly  past  great 
works  by  the  dozen  without  vouchsafing  an  eye  : 
all  at  once  he  stops  full  at  the  Psiche-fanciulla — 
cannot  pass  that  old  acquaintance  without  a  nod  of 
encouragement — '  In  your  new  place,  beauty  ? 
Then  behave  yourself  as  well  here  as  at  Munich — 
I  see  you ! '  Next  he  posts  himself  deliberately 
before  the  unfinished  Pietd  for  half  an  hour  with- 
out moving,  till  up  he  starts  of  a  sudden,  and 
thrusts  his  very  nose  into — I  say,  into — the  group  ; 
by  which  gesture  you  are  informed  that  precisely 
the  sole  point  he  had  not  fully  mastered  in 
Canova's  practice  was  a  certain  method  of  using 
the  drill  in  the  articulation  of  the  knee-joint — and 
that,  likewise,  has  he  mastered  at  length  !  Good- 


bye,  therefore,  to  poor  Canova — whose  gallery  no 
longer  needs  detain  his  successor  Jules,  the  pre- 
destinated novel  thinker  in  marble ! 

STH  STUD.  Tell  him  about  the  women  :  go  on  to 
the  women ! 

IST  STUD.  Why,  on  that  matter  he  could  never 
be  supercilious  enough.  How  should  we  be  other 
(he  said)  than  the  poor  devils  you  see,  with  those 
debasing  habits  we  cherish  ?  He  was  not  to 
wallow  in  that  mire,  at  least :  he  would  wait,  and 
love  only  at  the  proper  time,  and  meanwhile  put 
up  with  the  Psiche-fanciulla.  Now  I  happened 
to  hear  of  a  young  Greek — real  Greek  girl  at 
Malamocco ;  a  true  Islander,  do  you  see,  with 
Alciphron's '  hair  like  sea-moss ' — Schramm  knows  ! 
— white  and  quiet  as  an  apparition,  and  fourteen 
years  old  at  farthest, — a  daughter  of  Natalia,  so 
she  swears — that  hag  Natalia,  who  helps  us  to 
models  at  three  lire  an  hour.  We  selected 
this  girl  for  the  heroine  of  our  jest.  So, 
first,  Jules  received  a  scented  letter — somebody 
had  seen  his  Tydeus  at  the  academy,  and  my 
picture  was  nothing  to  it — a  profound  admirer 
bade  him  persevere — would  make  herself  known  to 
him  ere  long — (Paolina,  my  little  friend  of  the 
Fenice,  transcribes  divinely).  And  in  due  time, 
the  mysterious  correspondent  gave  certain  hints  of 
her  peculiar  charms — the  pale  cheeks,  the  black 
hair — whatever,  in  short,  had  struck  us  in  our 
Malamocco  model :  we  retained  her  name,  too — 


Phene,  which  is  by  interpretation,  sea-eagle. 
Now,  think  of  Jules  finding  himself  distinguished 
from  the  herd  of  us  by  such  a  creature !  In  his 
very  first  answer  he  proposed  marrying  his  moni- 
tress  :  and  fancy  us  over  these  letters,  two,  three 
times  a  day,  to  receive  and  dispatch  !  I  concocted 
the  main  of  it :  relations  were  in  the  way — secrecy 
must  be  observed — in  fine,  would  he  wed  her 
on  trust,  and  only  speak  to  her  when  they 
were  indissolubly  united?  St — st —  Here  they 
come ! 

6xH  STUD.  Both  of  them  !  Heaven's  love,  speak 
softly  !  speak  within  yourselves ! 

STH  STUD.  Look  at  the  bridegroom !  Half  his 
hair  in  storm,  and  half  in  calm, — patted  down  over 
the  left  temple, — like  a  frothy  cup  one  blows  on  to 
cool  it !  and  the  same  old  blouse  that  he  murders 
the  marble  in  ! 

SND  STUD.  Not  a  rich  vest  like  yours,  Hannibal 
Scratchy  ! — rich,  that  your  face  may  the  better  set 
it  off. 

GTH  STUD.  And  the  bride  !  Yes,  sure  enough, 
our  Phene !  Should  you  have  known  her  in  her 
clothes  ?  How  magnificently  pale  ! 

GOTT.  She  does  not  also  take  it  for  earnest,  I 

IST  STUD.  Oh,  Natalia's  concern,  that  is  !  We 
settle  with  Natalia. 

GTH  STUD.  She  does  not  speak — has  evidently 
let  out  no  word.  The  only  thing  is,  will  she 


equally  remember  the  rest  of  her  lesson,  and 
repeat  correctly  all  those  verses  which  are  to  break 
the  secret  to  Jules  ? 

GOTT.   How  he  gazes  on  her !     Pity — pity  ! 

IST  STUD.  They  go  in — now,  silence!  You 
three, — not  nearer  the  window,  mind,  than  that 
pomegranate — just  where  the  little  girl,  who  a  few 
minutes  ago  passed  us  singing,  is  seated ! 





Over  Orcana.  The  House  of  JULES,  tvho  crosses  its 
threshold  with  PHENE  :  she  is  silent,  on  which 
JULES  begins — 

Do  not  die,  Phene  !     I  am  yours  now,  you 

Are  mine  now  ;  let  fate  reach  me  how  she  likes, 

If  you  '11  not  die — so,  never  die !     Sit  here — 

My  work-room's  single  seat.     I  over-lean 

This  length  of  hair  and  lustrous  front ;  they  turn 

Like  an  entire  flower  upward  :  eyes — lips — last 

Your  chin — no,  last  your  throat  turns — 'tis  their 


Pulls  down  my  face  upon  you  !     Nay,  look  ever 
This  one  way  till  I  change,  grow  you — I  could 
Change  into  you,  Beloved  ! 

You  by  me, 

And  I  by  you ;  this  is  your  hand  in  mine, 
And  side  by  side  we  sit :  all 's  true.     Thank  God  ! 
I  have  spoken  :  speak,  you  ! 

O,  my  life  to  come ! 

My  Tydeus  must  be  carved,  that 's  there  in  clay ; 
Yet  how  be  carved,  with  you  about  the  chamber  ? 
Where  must  I  place   you  ?     When  I  think  that 




This  room-full  of  rough  block-work  seemed  my 

Without  you  !     Shall  I  ever  work  again, 

Get  fairly  into  my  old  ways  again, 

Bid  each  conception  stand  while,  trait  by  trait, 

My  hand  transfers  its  lineaments  to  stone  ? 

Will  my  mere  fancies  live  near  you,  my  truth — 

The  live  truth,  passing  and  repassing  me, 

Sitting  beside  me  ? 

Now  speak  ! 

Only,  first, 

See,  all  your  letters  !     Was 't  not  well  contrived  ? 
Their  hiding-place  is  Psyche's  robe  ;  she  keeps 
Your  letters  next  her  skin :  which  drops  out  fore- 
most ? 

Ah, — this  that  swam  down  like  a  first  moonbeam 
Into  my  world ! 

Again  those  eyes  complete 
Their  melancholy  survey,  sweet  and  slow, 
Of  all  my  room  holds  ;  to  return  and  rest 
On  me,  with  pity,  yet  some  wonder  too — 
As  if  God  bade  some  spirit  plague  a  world, 
And  this  were  the  one  moment  of  surprise 
And  sorrow  while  she  took  her  station,  pausing 
O'er  what  she  sees,  finds  good,  and  must  destroy ! 
What  gaze  you  at?     Those?     Books,  I  told  you 


Let  your  first  word  to  me  rejoice  them,  too  : 
This  minion,  a  Coluthus,  writ  in  red 
Bistre  and  azure  by  Bessarion's  scribe — 

NOON  39 

Read  this  line  .  .  .  no,  shame — Homer's  be  the 


First  breathed  me  from  the  lips  of  my  Greek  girl  ! 
My  Odyssey  in  coarse  black  vivid  type 
With  faded  yellow  blossoms  'twixt  page  and  page, 
To  mark  great  places  with  due  gratitude  ; 
'  He  said,  and  on  Antinous  directed 
'  A  bitter  shaft "...  a  flower  blots  out  the  rest ! 
Again  upon  your  search  ?     My  statues,  then  ! 
— Ah,  do  not  mind  that — better  that  will  look 
When  cast  in  bronze — an  Almaign  Kaiser,  that, 
Swart-green  and  gold,  with  truncheon  based  on 


This,  rather,  turn  to  !     What,  unrecognised  ? 
I  thought  you  would  have  seen  that  here  you  sit 
As  I  imagined  you, — Hippolyta, 
Naked  upon  her  bright  Numidian  horse  ! 
Recall  you  this,  then  ?     '  Carve  in  bold  reh'ef ' — 
So  you  commanded — '  carve,  against  I  come, 
'  A  Greek,  in  Athens,  as  our  fashion  was, 
'  Feasting,  bay-filleted  and  thunder-free, 
'  Who  rises  'neath  the  lifted  myrtle-branch  : 
* "  Praise  those  who  slew  Hipparchus,"  cry  the  guests, 
'"  While  o'er  thy  head  the  singer's  myrtle  waves 
' "  As  erst  above  our  champions'  :  stand  up,  all !" 
See,  I  have  laboured  to  express  your  thought ! 
Quite  round,  a  cluster  of  mere  hands  and  arms, 
(Thrust  in  all  senses,  all  ways,  from  all  sides, 
Only  consenting  at  the  branch's  end 
They  strain  toward)  serves  for  frame  to  a  sole  face, 


The  Praiser's,  in  the  centre — who  with  eyes 
Sightless,  so  bend  they  back  to  light  inside 
His  brain  where  visionary  forms  throng  up, 
Sings,  minding  not  that  palpitating  arch 
Of  hands  and  arms,  nor  the  quick  drip  of  wine 
From  the  drenched  leaves  o'erhead,  nor  crowns 

cast  off, 

Violet  and  parsley  crowns  to  trample  on — 
Sings,  pausing  as  the  patron-ghosts  approve, 
Devoutly  their  unconquerable  hymn  ! 
But  you  must  say  a  '  well '  to  that — say,  '  well ! ' 
Because  you  gaze — am  I  fantastic,  sweet  ? 
Gaze  like  my  very  life's-stuff,  marble — marbly 
Even  to  the  silence !  why,  before  I  found 
The  real  flesh  Phene,  I  inured  myself 
To  see,  throughout  all  nature,  varied  stuff 
For  better  nature's  birth  by  means  of  art. 
With  me,  each  substance  tended  to  one  form 
Of  beauty — to  the  human  archetype. 
On  every  side  occurred  suggestive  germs 
Of  that — the  tree,  the  flower — or  take  the  fruit, — 
Some  rosy  shape,  continuing  the  peach, 
Curved  beewise  o'er  its  bough ;  as  rosy  limbs, 
Depending,  nestled  in  the  leaves;  and  just 
From  a  cleft  rose-peach  the  whole  Dryad  sprang. 
But  of  the  stuffs  one  can  be  master  of, 
How  I  divined  their  capabilities  ! 
From  the  soft-rinded  smoothening  facile  chalk 
That  yields  your  outline  to  the  air's  embrace, 
Half-softened  by  a  halo's  pearly  gloom ; 

NOON  41 

Down  to  the  crisp  imperious  steel,  so  sure 
To  cut  its  one  confided  thought  clean  out 
Of  all  the  world.     But  marble  ! — 'neath  my  tools 
More  pliable  than  jelly — as  it  were 
Some  clear  primordial  creature  dug  from  depths 
In  the  earth's  heart,  where  itself  breeds  itself, 
And  whence  all  baser  substance  may  be  worked ; 
Refine  it  off  to  air,  you  may, — condense  it 
Down  to  the  diamond ; — is  not  metal  there, 
When  o'er  the  sudden  specks  my  chisel  trips  ? 
— Not  flesh,  as  flake  off  flake  I  scale,  approach, 
Lay  bare  those  bluish  veins  of  blood  asleep  ? 
Lurks  flame  in  no  strange  windings  where,  sur- 

By  the  swift  implement  sent  home  at  once, 
Flushes  and  glowings  radiate  and  hover 
About  its  track  ? 

Phene  ?  what — why  is  this  ? 
That  whitening  cheek,  those  still-dilating  eyes ! 
Ah,  you  will  die — I  knew  that  you  would  die  ! 

PHENE  begins,  on  his  having  long  remained  silent. 

Now  the  end  's  coming ;  to  be  sure,  it  must 
Have  ended  sometime !     Tush,  why  need  I  speak 
Their  foolish  speech  ?     I  cannot  bring  to  mind 
One  half  of  it,  besides ;  and  do  not  care 
For  old  Natalia  now,  nor  any  of  them. 
Oh,  you — what  are  you  ? — if  I  do  not  try 
To  say  the  words  Natalia  made  me  learn, 
To  please  your  friends, — it  is  to  keep  myself 


Where  your  voice  lifted  me,  by  letting  it 
Proceed  :  but  can  it  ?     Even  you,  perhaps, 
Cannot  take  up,  now  you  have  once  let  fall, 
The  music's  life,  and  me  along  with  that — 
No,  or  you  would  !     We  '11  stay,  then,  as  we  are  : 
Above  the  world. 

You  creature  with  the  eyes  ! 
If  I  could  look  for  ever  up  to  them, 
As  now  you  let  me, — I  believe,  all  sin, 
All  memory  of  wrong  done  or  suffering  borne, 
Would  drop  down,  low  and  lower,  to  the  earth 
Whence  all  that 's  low  comes,  and  there  touch  and 


— Never  to  overtake  the  rest  of  me, 
All  that,  unspotted,  reaches  up  to  you, 
Drawn  by  those  eyes  !     What  rises  is  myself, 
Not  so  the  shame  and  suffering ;  but  they  sink, 
Are  left,  I  rise  above  them.     Keep  me  so, 
Above  the  world ! 

But  you  sink,  for  your  eyes 
Are  altering — altered!     Stay — 'I  love  you,  love 

you'  .  .  . 

I  could  prevent  it  if  I  understood  : 
More  of  your  words  to  me  :  was  't  in  the  tone 
Or  the  words,  your  power  ? 

Or  stay — I  will  repeat 

Their  speech,  if  that  contents  you  !     Only,  change 
No  more,  and  I  shall  find  it  presently 
— Far  back  here,  in  the  brain  yourself  filled  up. 
Natalia  threatened  me  that  harm  would  follow 

NOON  43 

Unless  I  spoke  their  lesson  to  the  end, 

But  harm  to  me,  I  thought  she  meant,  not  you. 

Your  friends, — Natalia  said  they  were  your  friends 

And  meant  you  well, — because,  I  doubted  it, 

Observing  (what  was  very  strange  to  see) 

On  every  face,  so  different  in  all  else, 

The  same  smile  girls  like  us  are  used  to  bear, 

But  never  men,  men  cannot  stoop  so  low ; 

Yet  your  friends,  speaking  of  you,  used  that  smile, 

That  hateful  smirk  of  boundless  self-conceit 

Which  seems  to  take  possession  of  this  world 

And  make  of  God  their  tame  confederate, 

Purveyor  to  their  appetites  .  .  .  you  know ! 

But  no — Natalia  said  they  were  your  friends, 

And  they  assented  while  they  smiled  the  more, 

And  all  came  round  me, — that  thin  Englishman 

With  light,  lank  hair  seemed  leader  of  the  rest ; 

He  held  a  paper — '  What  we  want,'  said  be, 

Ending  some  explanation  to  his  friends — 

'Is  something  slow,  involved  and  mystical, 

'  To  hold  Jules  long  in  doubt,  yet  take  his  taste 

'  And  lure  him  on,  so  that,  at  innermost 

'  Where  he  seeks  sweetness'  soul,  he  may  find — 


'  — As  in  the  apple's  core,  the  noisome  fly : 
'  For  insects  on  the  rind  are  seen  at  once, 
'And  brushed  aside  as  soon,  but  this  is  found 
'  Only  when  on  the  lips  or  loathing  tongue.' 
And  so  he  read  what  I  have  got  by  heart — 
I  '11  speak  it, — '  Do  not  die,  love  !  I  am  yours  '  .  . . 


Stop — is  not  that,  or  like  that,  part  of  words 
Yourself  began  by  speaking  ?     Strange  to  lose 
What  cost  such  pains  to  learn  !     Is  this  more  right  ? 

/  am  a  painter  who  cannot  paint  ; 

In  my  life,  a  devil  rather  than  saint, 

In  my  brain,  as  poor  a  creature  too  : 

No  end  to  all  I  cannot  do  ! 

Yet  do  one  thing  at  least  I  can — 

Love  a  man,  or  hate  a  man 

Supremely  :  thus  my  lore  began. 

Through  the  F  alley  of  Love  I  went, 

In  its  lovingest  spot  to  abide, 

And  just  on  the  verge  where  I  pitched  my  tent, 

I  found  Hate  dwelling  beside. 

(Let  the  Bridegroom  ask  what  the  painter  meant, 

Of  his  Bride,  of  the  peerless  Bride  /) 

And  further,  I  traversed  Hate's  grove, 

In  its  hatefullest  nook  to  dwell ; 

But  lo,  where  I  flung  myself  prone,  couched  Love 

Where  the  deepest  shadow  fell. 

(The  meaning — those  black  bride' s-eyes  above, 

Not  the  painter's  lip  should  tell  /) 

*  And  here,'  said  he,  '  Jules  probably  will  ask, 
'  You  have  black  eyes,  love, — you  are,  sure  enough, 
'  My  peerless  bride, — so,  do  you  tell,  indeed, 
'  What  needs  some  explanation — what  means  this  ? ' 
— And  I  am  to  go  on,  without  a  word — 

So,  I  grew  wiser  in  Love  and  Hate, 

From  simple,  that  I  was  of  late. 

NOON  45 

For  once,  when  I  loved,  I  mould  enlace 

Breast,  eyelids,  hands,  feet,  form  and  face 

Of  her  I  loved,  in  one  embrace — 

As  if  by  mere  love  I  could  love  immensely  I 

And  when  I  hated,  I  would  plunge 

My  sword  and  wipe  with  thejirst  lunge 

My  foe's  whole  life  out,  like  a  spunge — 

As  if  by  mere  hate  I  could  hate  intensely  ! 

But  now  I  am  wiser,  know  better  the  fashion 

How  passion  seeks  aid  from  its  opposite  passion, 

And    if   I    see  cause  to  love  more,    or    hate 


Than  ever  man  loved,  ever  hated,  before — 
And  seek  in  the  Valley  of  Love, 
The  spot,  or  the  spot  in  Hates  Grove, 
Where  my  soul  may  the  sureliest  reach 
The  essence,  nought  less,  of  each, 
The  Hate  of  all  Hates,  or  the  Love 
Of  all  Loves,  in  its  Valley  or  Grove, — 
I  find  them  the  very  warders 
Each  of  the  other's  borders. 
I  love  most,  when  Love  is  disguised 
In  Hate  ;  and  when  Hate  is  surprised 
In  Love,  then  I  hate  most :  ask 
How  Love  smiles  through  Hate's  iron  casque, 
Hate  grins  through  Love's  rose-braided  mask, — 
And  how,  having  hated  thee, 
I  sought  long  and  painfully 
To  wound  thee,  and  not  prick 
The  skin,  but  pierce  to  the  quick — 


Ask  this,  my  Jules,  and  be  answered  straight 
By    thy    bride — how    the  painter  Luttvyche   can 

JULES  interposes 

Lutwyche  !  who  else  ?     But  all  of  them,  no  doubt, 
Hated  me  :  they  at  Venice — presently 
Their  turn,  however  !     You  I  shall  not  meet : 
If  I  dreamed,  saying  this  would  wake  me  ! 


What 's  here,  this  gold — we  cannot  meet  again, 
Consider — and  the  money  was  but  meant 
For  two  years'  travel,  which  is  over  now, 
All  chance,  or  hope,  or  care,  or  need  of  it ! 
This — and  what  comes  from  selling  these,  my  casts 
And  books,  and  medals,  except  ...  let  them  go 
Together,  so  the  produce  keeps  you  safe, 
Out  of  Natalia's  clutches ! — If  by  chance 
(For  all 's  chance  here)  I  should  survive  the  gang 
At  Venice,  root  out  all  fifteen  of  them, 
We  might  meet  somewhere,   since  the  world  is 
[From    without    is    heard   the   voice   of  PIPPA, 

Give  her  but  a  least  excuse  to  love  me  ! 
When — where — 

Horn — can  this  arm  establish  her  above  me, 
If  fortune  Jixed  her  as  my  lady  there, 
There  already,  to  eternally  reprove  me  ? 

NOON  47 

('  Hist ' — said  Kate  the  queen  / 

But  '  Oh ' — cried  the  maiden,  binding  her  tresses, 

''Tis  only  a  page  that  carols  unseen 

'  Crumbling  your  hounds  their  messes  !  ') 

Is  she  wronged  ? — To  the  rescue  of  her  honour, 

My  heart/ 

Is  she  poor  ? —  What  costs  it  to  be  styled  a  donor  ? 

Merely  an  earth  's  to  cleave,  a  sea 's  to  part  ! 

But  that  fortune  should  have  thrust  all  this  upon 


('  Nay,  list,' — bade  Kate  the  queen  ; 
And  still  cried  the  maiden,  binding  her  tresses, 
' '  Tis  only  a  page  that  carols  unseen 
'  Fitting  your  hawks  their  jesses  ! ') 

[PIPPA  passes. 

JULES  resumes 

What  name  was  that  the  little  girl  sang  forth  ? 

Kate  ?     The  Cornaro,  doubtless,  who  renounced 

The  crown  of  Cyprus  to  be  lady  here 

At  Asolo,  where  still  the  peasants  keep 

Her  memory  ;  and  songs  tell  how  many  a  page 

Pined  for  the  grace  of  one  so  far  above 

His  power  of  doing  good  to,  as  a  queen — 

'  She  never  could  be  wronged,  be  poor/  he  sighed, 

'  For,  him  to  help  her ! ' 

Yes,  a  bitter  thing 
To  see  our  lady  above  all  need  of  us ; 
Yet  so  we  look  ere  we  will  love;  not  I, 


But  the  world  looks  so.     If  whoever  loves 
Must  be,  in  some  sort,  god  or  worshipper, 
The  blessing  or  the  blest  one,  queen  or  page, 
Why  should  we  always  choose  the  page's  part  ? 
Here  is  a  woman  with  utter  need  of  me, — 
I  find  myself  queen  here,  it  seems ! 

How  strange  ! 

Look  at  the  woman  here  with  the  new  soul, 
Like  my  own  Psyche's, — fresh  upon  her  lips 
Alit,  the  visionary  butterfly, 
Waiting  my  word  to  enter  and  make  bright, 
Or  flutter  off  and  leave  all  blank  as  first. 
This  body  had  no  soul  before,  but  slept 
Or  stirred,  was  beauteous  or  ungainly,  free 
From  taint  or  foul  with  stain,  as  outward  things 
Fastened  their  image  on  its  passiveness : 
Now,  it  will  wake,  feel,  live — or  die  again  ! 
Shall  to  produce  form  out  of  unshaped  stuff 
Be  Art — and,  further,  to  evoke  a  soul 
From  form,  be  nothing  ?     This  new  soul  is  mine ! 

Now,  to  kill  Lutwyche,  what  would  that  do  ? — save 
A  wretched  dauber,  men  will  hoot  to  death 
Without  me,  from  their  laughter !     Oh,  to  hear 
God's  voice  plain  as  I  heard  it  first,  before 
They  broke  in  with  that  laughter !  I  heard  them 
Henceforth,  not  God. 

To  Ancona — Greece — some  isle  ! 
I  wanted  silence  only  :  there  is  clay 
Everywhere.     One  may  do  whate'er  one  likes 

NOON  49 

In  Art :  the  only  thing  is,  to  make  sure 

That  one  does  like  it — which  takes  pains  to  know. 

Scatter  all  this,  my  Phene — this  mad  dream ! 
Who,  what  is  Lutwyche,  what  Natalia's  friends, 
What  the  whole  world  except  our  love — my 


Own  Phene  ?     But  I  told  you,  did  I  not, 
Ere  night  we  travel  for  your  land — some  isle 
With  the  sea's  silence  on  it  ?     Stand  aside — 
I  do  but  break  these  paltry  models  up 
To  begin  Art  afresh.     Shall  I  meet  Lutwyche, 
And  save  him  from  my  statue's  meeting  him  ? 
Some  unsuspected  isle  in  the  far  seas  ! 
Like  a  god  going  through  his  world  there  stands 
One  mountain  for  a  moment  in  the  dusk, 
Whole  brotherhoods  of  cedars  on  its  brow  : 
And  you  are  ever  by  me  while  I  gaze 
— Are  in  my  arms  as  now — as  now — as  now  ! 
Some  unsuspected  isle  in  the  far  seas  ! 
Some  unsuspected  isle  in  far-off  seas ! 

Talk  by  the  nay,  while  PIPPA  is  passing  from  Orcana 
to  the  Turret.  Two  or  three  of  the  Austrian 
Police  loitering  with  BLUPHOCKS,  an  English 
vagabond,  just  in  view  of  the  Turret. 

BLUPHOCKS.1  So,  that  is  your  Pippa,   the   little 
girl  who  passed  us  singing  ?     Well,  your  Bishop's 

1  '  He  maketh  His  sun  to  rise  on  the  evil  and  on  the  good,  and 
sendeth  rain  on  the  just  and  on  the  unjust.' 


Intendant's  money  shall  be  honestly  earned : — 
now,  don't  make  me  that  sour  face  because  I  bring 
the  Bishop's  name  into  the  business — we  know  he 
can  have  nothing  to  do  with  such  horrors — we 
know  that  he  is  a  saint  and  all  that  a  Bishop 
should  be,  who  is  a  great  man  besides.  Oh  1  were 
but  every  norm  a  maggot,  Every  fly  a  grig,  Every 
bough  a  Christmas  faggot,  Every  tune  a  jig  !  In 
fact,  I  have  abjured  all  religions;  but  the  last  I 
inclined  to,  was  the  Armenian — for  I  have 
travelled,  do  you  see,  and  at  Koenigsberg,  Prussia 
Improper  (so  styled  because  there 's  a  sort  of  bleak 
hungry  sun  there,)  you  might  remark  over  a  vener- 
able house-porch,  a  certain  Chaldee  inscription ; 
and  brief  as  it  is,  a  mere  glance  at  it  used  absolutely 
to  change  the  mood  of  every  bearded  passenger. 
In  they  turned,  one  and  all ;  the  young  and  light- 
some, with  no  irreverent  pause,  the  aged  and 
decrepit,  with  a  sensible  alacrity, — 'twas  the 
Grand  Rabbi's  abode,  in  short.  Struck  with 
curiosity,  I  lost  no  time  in  learning  Syriac — (these 
are  vowels,  you  dogs, — follow  my  stick's  end  in 
the  mud — Celarent,  Darii,  Ferio  /)  and  one  morning 
presented  myself  spelling-book  in  hand,  a,  b,  c, — 
I  picked  it  out  letter  by  letter,  and  what  was  the 
purport  of  this  miraculous  posy  ?  Some  cherished 
legend  of  the  Past,  you  '11  say — '  How  Moses  hocus- 
pocust  Egypt's  land  with  fly  and  locust,' — or,  '  How 
to  Jonah  sounded  harshish,  Get  thee  up  and  go  to 
Tarshish,' — or,  '  How  the  angel  meeting  Balaam, 

NOON  61 

Straight  his  ass  returned  a  salaam.'  In  no  wise  ! 
'  Shackabrach — Boach — somebody  or  other — Isaach, 
Re-cei-ver,  Pur-cha-ser  and  Ex-chan-ger  of- — Stolen 
Goods  ! '  So,  talk  to  me  of  the  religion  of  a  bishop  ! 
I  have  renounced  all  bishops  save  Bishop  Bever- 
idge — mean  to  live  so — and  die — As  some  Greek 
dog-sage,  dead  and  merry,  Hellnard  bound  in  Charon's 
wherry — With  food  for  both  worlds,  under  and  upper, 
Lupineseed  and  Hecate's  supper,  And  never  an 
obolus  .  .  .  (Though  thanks  to  you,  or  this  Inten- 
dant  through  you,  or  this  Bishop  through  his  In- 
tendant — I  possess  a  burning  pocket-full  of  zwan- 
zigers)  ...  To  pay  the  Stygian  ferry  ! 

IST  POL.  There  is  the  girl,  then ;  go  and 
deserve  them  the  moment  you  have  pointed 
out  to  us  Signor  Luigi  and  his  mother.  (To 
the  rest)  I  have  been  noticing  a  house  yonder, 
this  long  while :  not  a  shutter  unclosed  since 
morning ! 

SND  POL.  Old  Luca  Gaddi's,  that  owns  the  silk- 
mills  here :  he  dozes  by  the  hour,  wakes  up,  sighs 
deeply,  says  he  should  like  to  be  Prince 
Metternich,  and  then  dozes  again,  after  having 
bidden  young  Sebald,  the  foreigner,  set  his  wife 
to  playing  draughts :  never  molest  such  a  house- 
hold, they  mean  well. 

BLUP.  Only,  cannot  you  tell  me  something  of 
this  little  Pippa,  I  must  have  to  do  with  ?  One 
could  make  something  of  that  name.  Pippa — 
that  is,  short  for  Felippa — rhyming  to  Panurge 


consults  Hertrippa — Believ'st  thou,  King  Agrippa  ? 
Something  might  be  done  with  that  name. 

2ND  POL.  Put  into  rhyme  that  your  head  and  a 
ripe  musk-melon  would  not  be  dear  at  half  a 
zrvanziger  !  Leave  this  fooling,  and  look  out :  the 
afternoon 's  over  or  nearly  so. 

SRD  POL.  Where  in  this  passport  of  Signer 
Luigi  does  our  Principal  instruct  you  to  watch  him 
so  narrowly  ?  There  ?  what 's  there  beside  a 
simple  signature  ?  (That  English  fool 's  busy 

2ND  POL.  Flourish  all  round — '  Put  all  possible 
obstacles  in  his  way' ;  oblong  dot  at  the  end — 
'  Detain  him  till  further  advices  reach  you ' ; 
scratch  at  bottom — 'Send  him  back  on  pretence 
of  some  informality  in  the  above'  ;  ink-spirt  on 
right-hand  side,  (which  is  the  case  here) — '  Arrest 
him  at  once.'  Why  and  wherefore,  I  don't  con- 
cern myself,  but  my  instructions  amount  to  this : 
if  Signer  Luigi  leaves  home  to-night  for  Vienna, 
well  and  good — the  passport  deposed  with  us  for 
our  visa  is  really  for  his  own  use,  they  have  mis- 
informed the  Office,  and  he  means  well ;  but  let 
him  stay  over  to-night — there  has  been  the  pre- 
tence we  suspect,  the  accounts  of  his  correspond- 
ing and  holding  intelligence  with  the  Carbonari  are 
correct,  we  arrest  him  at  once,  to-morrow  comes 
Venice,  and  presently,  Spielberg.  Bluphocks 
makes  the  signal,  sure  enough !  That  is  he, 
entering  the  turret  with  his  mother,  no  doubt. 





Inside  the  Turret.     LUIGI  and  his  Mother  entering 

MOTHER.  If  there  blew  wind,  you  'd  hear  a  long 

sigh,  easing 
The  utmost  heaviness  of  music's  heart. 

LUIGI.  Here  in  the  archway  ? 

MOTHER.  Oh  no,  no — in  farther, 

Where  the  echo  is  made,  on  the  ridge. 

LUIGI.  Here  surely,  then. 

How  plain  the  tap  of  my  heel  as  I  leaped  up  ! 
Hark — '  Lucius  Junius  ! '  The  very  ghost  of  a  voice, 
Whose  body  is  caught  and  kept  by  ...  what  are 

those  ? 

Mere  withered  wallflowers,  waving  overhead  ? 
They  seem  an  elvish  group  with  thin  bleached  hair 
Who  lean  out  of  their  topmost  fortress — looking 
And  listening,  mountain  men,  to  what  we  say, 
Hands  under  chin  of  each  grave  earthy  face  : 
Up  and  show  faces  all  of  you  ! — *  All  of  you  !  ' 
That's  the  king's  dwarf  with  the  scarlet  comb; 

,    now  hark — 

Come  down  and  meet  your  fate!     Hark — 'Meet 
your  fate  !' 



MOTHER.  Let   him  not  meet  it,  my  Luigi — do 


Go  to  his  City !  putting  crime  aside, 
Half  of  these  ills  of  Italy  are  feigned: 
Your  Pellicos  and  writers  for  effect, 
Write  for  effect. 

LUIGI.  Hush  !  say  A.  writes,  and  B. 

MOTHER.  These  A.'s  and  B.'s  write  for  effect,  I 


Then,  evil  is  in  its  nature  loud,  while  good 
Is  silent ;  you  hear  each  petty  injury, 
None  of  his  daily  virtues ;  he  is  old, 
Quiet,  and  kind,  and  densely  stupid.     Why 
Do  A.  and  B.  not  kill  him  themselves  ? 

LUIGI.  They  teach 

Others  to  kill  him — me — and,  if  I  fail, 
Others  to  succeed ;  now,  if  A.  tried  and  failed, 
I  could  not  teach  that :  mine 's  the  lesser  task. 
Mother,  they  visit  night  by  night  .  .  . 

MOTHER.  — You,  Luigi? 

Ah,  will  you  let  me  tell  you  what  you  are  ? 

LUIGI.  Why  not?     Oh,  the  one  thing  you  fear 

to  hint, 

You  may  assure  yourself  I  say  and  say 
Ever  to  myself ;  at  times — nay,  even  as  now 
We  sit,  I  think  my  mind  is  touched — suspect 
All  is  not  sound  :  but  is  not  knowing  that, 
What  constitutes  one  sane  or  otherwise  ? 
I  know  I  am  thus — so  all  is  right  again ! 
I  laugh  at  myself  as  through  the  town  I  walk, 


And  see  men  merry  as  if  no  Italy 

Were  suffering ;  then  I  ponder — '  I  am  rich, 

'  Young,  healthy ;  why  should  this  fact  trouble  me, 

'More    than   it   troubles    these?'      But   it   does 

trouble ! 

No^trouble  's  a  bad  word — for  as  I  walk 
There 's  springing  and  melody  and  giddiness, 
And  old  quaint  turns  and  passages  of  my  youth — 
Dreams  long  forgotten,  little  in  themselves — 
Return  to  me — whatever  may  amuse  me, 
And  earth  seems  in  a  truce  with  me,  and  heaven 
Accords  with  me,  all  things  suspend  their  strife, 
The  very  cicale  laugh  '  There  goes  he,  and  there  ! 
'  Feast  him,  the  time  is  short ;  he  is  on  his  way 
'  For  the  world's  sake :   feast  him  this  once,  our 

friend  ! ' 

And  in  return  for  all  this,  I  can  trip 
Cheerfully  up  the  scaffold-steps.     I  go 
This  evening,  mother ! 

MOTHER.  But  mistrust  yourself — 

Mistrust  the  judgment  you  pronounce  on  him. 

LUIGI.  Oh,  there  I   feel — am  sure  that  I  am 

MOTHER.  Mistrust  your  judgment,  then,  of  the 

mere  means 

Of  this  wild  enterprise  :  say,  you  are  right, — 
How  should  one  in  your  state  e'er  bring  to  pass 
What  would  require  a  cool  head,  a  cold  heart, 
And  a  calm  hand  ?     You  never  will  escape. 

LUIGI.  Escape — to  even  wish  that,  would  spoil  all! 


The  dying  is  best  part  of  it.     Too  much 

Have  I  enjoyed  these  fifteen  years  of  mine, 

To  leave  myself  excuse  for  longer  life — 

Was  not  life  pressed  down,  running  o'er  with  joy, 

That  I  might  finish  with  it  ere  my  fellows 

Who,  sparelier  feasted,  make  a  longer  stay  ? 

I  was  put  at  the  board-head,  helped  to  all 

At  first;  I  rise  up  happy  and  content. 

God  must  be  glad  one  loves  His  world  so  much  ! 

I  can  give  news  of  earth  to  all  the  dead 

Who  ask  me  : — last  year's  sunsets,  and  great  stars 

That  had  a  right  to  come  first  and  see  ebb 

The  crimson  wave  that  drifts  the  sun  away — 

Those  crescent  moons  with  notched  and  burning 


That  strengthened  into  sharp  fire,  and  there  stood, 
Impatient  of  the  azure — and  that  day 
In  March,  a  double  rainbow  stopped  the  storm — 
May's  warm,  slow,  yellow  moonlit  summer  nights — 
Gone  are  they,  but  I  have  them  in  my  soul ! 

MOTHER.  (He  will  not  go  !) 

LUIOI.  You  smile  at  me  !     'Tis  true, — 

Voluptuousness,  grotesqueness,  ghastliness, 
Environ  my  devotedness  as  quaintly 
As  round  about  some  antique  altar  wreathe 
The  rose  festoons,  goats'  horns,  and  oxen's  skulls. 

MOTHER.  See  now :    you   reach   the   city,  you 

must  cross 
His  threshold — how  ? 

LUIOI.  Oh,  that 's  if  we  conspired  ! 


Then  would  come  pains  in  plenty,  as  you  guess — 

But  guess  not  how  the  qualities  most  fit 

For  such  an  office,  qualities  I  have, 

Would  little  stead  me  otherwise  employed, 

Yet  prove  of  rarest  merit  here,  here  only. 

Every  one  knows  for  what  his  excellence 

Will  serve,  but  no  one  ever  will  consider 

For  what  his  worst  defect  might  serve ;  and  yet 

Have  you  not  seen  me  range  our  coppice  yonder 

In  search  of  a  distorted  ash  ? — it  happens 

The  wry  spoilt  branch 's  a  natural  perfect  bow  ! 

Fancy  the  thrice-sage,  thrice-precautioned  man 

Arriving  at  the  palace  on  my  errand ! 

No,  no !  I  have  a  handsome  dress  packed  up — 

White  satin  here,  to  set  off  my  black  hair. 

In  I  shall  march — for  you  may  watch  your  life  out 

Behind  thick  walls,  make  friends  there  to  betray 

More  than   one   man   spoils   everything.     March 

straight — 

Only,  no  clumsy  knife  to  fumble  for. 
Take  the  great  gate,  and  walk  (not  saunter)  on 
Thro'  guards  and  guards 1  have  rehearsed  it 


Inside  the  Turret  here  a  hundred  times ! 
Don't  ask  the  way  of  whom  you  meet,  observe ! 
But  where  they  cluster  thickliest  is  the  door 
Of  doors  ;    they  '11   let  you   pass — they  '11   never 

Each  to  the  other,  he  knows  not  the  favourite, 


Whence   he   is  bound   and   what 's   his  business 


Walk  in — straight  up  to  him  ;  you  have  no  knife : 
Be  prompt,  how   should  he  scream  ?     Then,  out 

with  you ! 

Italy,  Italy,  my  Italy  ! 
You  're  free,  you  're  free !     Oh  mother,  I   could 


They  got  about  me — Andrea  from  his  exile, 
Pier  from  his  dungeon,  Gualtier  from  his  grave ! 
MOTHER.  Well,  you  shall  go.     Yet   seems  this 


The  easiest  virtue  for  a  selfish  man 
To  acquire  !     He   loves   himself — and   next,  the 

world — 

If  he  must  love  beyond, — but  nought  between  : 
As  a  short-sighted  man  sees  nought  midway 
His  body  and  the  sun  above.     But  you 
Are  my  adored  Luigi — ever  obedient 
To  my  least  wish,  and  running  o'er  with  love — 
I  could  not  call  you  cruel  or  unkind. 
Once  more,  your  ground  for  killing  him? — then 

LUIGI.  Now  do  you  ask  me,  or  make  sport  of 


How  first  the  Austrians  got  these  provinces  .  .  . 
(If  that  is  all,  I  '11  satisfy  you  soon) 
— Never  by  conquest  but  by  cunning,  for 
That  treaty  whereby  .  .  . 

MOTHER.  Well  ? 


LUIGI.  (Sure  he 's  arrived, 

The  tell-tale  cuckoo:  spring's  his  confidant. 
And  he  lets  out  her  April  purposes !) 
Or  ...  better  go  at  once  to  modern  times. 
He  has  .  .  .  they  have  ...  in  fact,  I  understand 
But  can't  restate  the  matter ;  that 's  my  boast : 
Others  could  reason  it  out  to  you,  and  prove 
Things  they  have  made  me  feel. 

MOTHER.  Why  go  to-night  ? 

Morn 's  for  adventure.     Jupiter  is  now 
A  morning  star.     I  cannot  hear  you,  Luigi ! 

LUIGI.  '  I  am  the  bright  and  morning-star,'  God 

saith — 

And,  '  to  such  an  one  I  give  the  morning-star ! ' 
The  gift  of  the  morning-star — have  I  God's  gift 
Of  the  morning-star  ? 

MOTHER.  Chiara  will  love  to  see 

That  Jupiter  an  evening-star  next  June. 

LUIGI.  True,  mother.     Well  for  those  who  live 

through  June ! 
Great     noontides,     thunder-storms,     all    glaring 


Which  triumph  at  the  heels  of  the  god  June 
Leading  his  revel  through  our  leafy  world. 
Yes,  Chiara  will  be  here. 

MOTHER.  In  June  :  remember, 

Yourself  appointed  that  month  for  her  coming. 

LUIGI.  Was  that  low  noise  the  echo  ? 

MOTHER.  The  night-wind. 

She  must  be  grown — with  her  blue  eyes  upturned 


As  if  life  were  one  long  and  sweet  surprise : 
In  June  she  comes. 

LUIGI.  We  were  to  see  together 

The  Titian  at  Treviso — there,  again  ! 

[From  without   is   heard  the  voice  of  PIPPA, 
singing — 

A  king  lived  long  ago, 

In  the  morning  of  the  world, 

When  earth  was  nigher  heaven  than  now  : 

And  the  king's  locks  curled 

Disparting  o'er  a  forehead  full 

As  the  milk-white  space  'twixt  horn  and  horn 

Of  some  sacrificial  bull — 

Only  calm  as  a  babe  new-born  : 

For  he  was  got  to  a  sleepy  mood, 

So  safe  from  all  decrepitude, 

Age  with  its  bane,  so  sure  gone  by, 

(The  Gods  so  loved  him  while  he  dreamed,) 

That,  having  lived  thus  long,  there  seemed 

No  need  the  king  should  ever  die. 

LUIGI.  No  need  that  sort  of  king  should  ever  die ! 

Among  the  rocks  his  city  was  : 
Before  his  palace,  in  the  sun, 
He  sat  to  see  his  people  pass, 
And  judge  them  every  one 
From  its  threshold  of  smooth  stone. 
They  haled  him  many  a  valley-thief 
Caught  in  the  sheep-pens — robber-chief, 
Swarthy  and  shameless — beggar-cheat  — 


Spy-prowler — or  rough  pirate  found 

On  the  sea-sand  left  aground  ; 

And  sometimes  clung  about  his  feet, 

With  bleeding  lip  and  burning  cheek, 

A  woman,  bitterest  wrong  to  speak 

Of  one  with  sullen,  thickset  brows  : 

And  sometimes  from  the  prison-house 

The  angry  priests  a  pale  wretch  brought, 

Who  through  some  chink  had  pushed  and  pressed, 

On  knees  and  elbows,  belly  and  breast, 

Worm-like  into  the  temple, — caught 

At  last  there  by  the  very  God, 

Who  ever  in  the  darkness  strode 

Backward  and  forward,  keeping  watch 

O'er  his  brazen  bowls,  such  rogues  to  catch  / 

And  these,  all  and  every  one, 

The  king  judged,  sitting  in  the  sun. 

LUIGI.  That  king  should  still  judge  sitting  in 
the  sun ! 

His  councillors,  on  left  and  right, 
Looked  anxious  up, — but  no  surprise 
Disturbed  the  king's  old  smiling  eyes, 
Where  the  very  blue  had  turned  to  white. 
'  Tis  said,  a  Python  scared  one  day 
The  breathless  city,  till  he  came, 
With  for ky  tongue  and  eyes  onjlame, 
Where  the  old  king  sat  to  judge  alway  ; 
But  when  he  saw  the  sweepy  hair, 
Girt  with  a  crown  of  berries  rare 


Which  the  God  mil  hardly  give  to  near 
To  the  maiden  rvho  singeth,  dancing  bare 
In  the  altar-smoke  by  the  pine-torch  lights, 
At  his  wondrous  forest  rites, — 
Beholding  this,  he  did  not  dare 
Approach  that  threshold  in  the  sun, 
Assault  the  old  king  smiling  there. 
Such  grace  had  kings  when  the  world  begun  I 

[PIPPA  passes. 

LUIOI.  And  such   grace   have   they,  now   that 

the  world  ends ! 

The  Python  in  the  city,  on  the  throne, 
And  brave  men,  God  would  crown  for  slaying  him, 
Lurk  in  bye-corners  lest  they  fall  his  prey. 
Are  crowns  yet  to  be  won,  in  this  late  time, 
Which  weakness  makes  me  hesitate  to  reach  ? 
'Tis  God's  voice  calls,  how  could  I  stay  ?     Farewell ! 

Talk  by  the  way,  while  PIPPA  is  passing  from  the 
Turret  to  the  Bishop's  brother's  House,  close  to 
the  Duomo  S.  Maria.  Poor  Girls  sitting  on  the 

IST  GIRL.  There  goes  a  swallow  to  Venice — the 

stout  seafarer ! 

Seeing  those  birds  fly,  makes  one  wish  for  wings. 
Let  us  all  wish  ;  you,  wish  first ! 

2ND  GIRL.  I  ?     This  sunset 

To  finish. 

SRD  GIRL.  That  old — somebody  I  know, 


Greyer  and  older  than  my  grandfather, 

To  give  me  the  same  treat  he  gave  last  week — 

Feeding  me  on  his  knee  with  fig-peckers, 

Lampreys,  and  red  Breganze-wine,  and  mumbling 

The  while  some  folly  about  how  well  I  fare, 

To  be  let  eat  my  supper  quietly  : 

Since  had  he  not  himself  been  late  this  morning 

Detained  at — never  mind  where, — had  he  not  .  .  . 

'  Eh,  baggage,  had  I  not ! ' — 

SND  GIRL.  How  she  can  lie  ! 

SRD  GIRL.  Look  there — by  the  nails  ! 

2ND  GIRL.  What  makes  your  fingers  red  ? 

SRD  GIRL.   Dipping  them  into  wine  to  write  bad 

words  with, 
On  the  bright  table  :  how  he  laughed ! 

IST  GIRL.  My  turn. 

Spring  's   come   and  summer 's   coming :  I  would 


A  long  loose  gown,  down  to  the  feet  and  hands, 
With  plaits  here,  close  about  the  throat,  all  day : 
And  all  night  lie,  the  cool  long  nights,  in  bed — 
And  have  new  milk  to  drink — apples  to  eat, 
Deuzans    and    junetings,    leather-coats  .  .  .  ah,    I 

should  say, 
This  is  away  in  the  fields — miles  ! 

SRD  GIRL.  Say  at  once 

You  'd  be  at  home :   she  'd  always  be  at  home  ! 
Now*  comes  the  story  of  the  farm  among 
The  cherry  orchards,  and  how  April  snowed 
White  blossoms  on  her  as  she  ran  :  why,  fool, 


They've  rubbed  out  the  chalk-mark  of  how  tall 

you  were, 

Twisted  your  starling's  neck,  broken  his  cage, 
Made  a  dunghill  of  your  garden  ! 

IST  GIRL.  They,  destroy 

My  garden  since  I  left  them  ?  well — perhaps ! 
I  would  have  done  so :  so  I  hope  they  have  ! 
A  fig-tree  curled  out  of  our  cottage  wall ; 
They  called  it  mine,  I  have  forgotten  why, 
It  must  have  been  there  long  ere  I  was  born  : 
Cric — eric — I  think  I  hear  the  wasps  o'erhead 
Pricking  the  papers  strung  to  flutter  there 
And   keep   off  birds   in   fruit-time — coarse    long 

And  the  wasps  eat  them,  prick  them  through  and 

SRD  GIRL.  How  her  mouth  twitches !  Where  was 

I  ? — before 

She  broke  in  with  her  wishes  and  long  gowns 
And  wasps — would  I  be  such  a  fool ! — Oh,  here  ! 
This  is  my  way — I  answer  every  one 
Who  asks  me  why  I  make  so  much  of  him — 
(If  you  say,  you  love  him — straight 'he '11  not  be 


'  He  that  seduced  me  when  I  was  a  girl 
Thus  high — had   eyes   like    yours,    or    hair    like 

Brown,   red,  white,' — as  the  case  may  be — that 

pleases  ! 
See  how  that  beetle  burnishes  in  the  path — 


There  sparkles  he  along  the  dust !  and,  there — 
Your  journey  to  that  maize-tuft  's  spoilt  at  least ! 

Isx  GIRL.  When  I  was  young,  they  said  if  you 

killed  one 

Of  those  sunshiny  beetles,  that  his  friend 
Up  there,  would  shine  no  more  that  day  nor  next. 

SND  GIRL.  When  you  were  young  ?  Nor  are  you 

young,  that 's  true  ! 
How  your  plump  arms,  that  were,  have  dropped 

away ! 

Why,  I  can  span  them  !     Cecco  beats  you  still  ? 
No  matter,  so  you  keep  your  curious  hair. 
I  wish  they'd  find  a  way  to  dye  our  hair 
Your  colour — any  lighter  tint,  indeed, 
Than  black :  the  men  say  they  are  sick  of  black, 
Black  eyes,  black  hair  ! 

4-TH  GIRL.  Sick  of  yours,  like  enough ! 

Do  you  pretend  you  ever  tasted  lampreys 
And  ortolans  ?     Giovita,  of  the  palace, 
Engaged  (but  there 's  no  trusting  him)  to  slice  me 
Polenta  with  a  knife  that  had  cut  up 
An  ortolan. 

SND  GIRL.      Why,  there  !  is  not  that  Pippa 
We  are  to  talk  to,  under  the  window, — quick, — 
Where  the  lights  are? 

IST  GIRL.  No — or  she  would  sing; 

For  the  Intendant  said  .  .  . 

SRD  GIRL.  Oh,  you  sing  first — 

Then,  if  she  listens  and  comes  close  ...  I  '11  tell 


Sing  that  song  the  young  English  noble  made, 
Who  took  you  for  the  purest  of  the  pure, 
And  meant  to  leave  the  world  for  you — what  fun  ! 
SND  GIRL.  [Sings.] 

You  '11  love  me  yet  !— and  I  can  tarry 

Your  love's  protracted  growing : 
June  reared  that  bunch  of  flowers  you  carry, 

From  seeds  of  April's  sowing. 

I  plant  a  heartfull  now  :  some  seed 

At  least  is  sure  to  strike, 
And  yield — what  you  '11  not  pluck  indeed, 

Not  love,  but,  may  be,  like  ! 

You  '11  look  at  least  on  love's  remains, 

A  grave's  one  violet : 
Your  look  ? — that  pays  a  thousand  pains. 

What 's  death  ? — You  '11  love  me  yet ! 

SRD  GIRL.  [To  PIPPA  who  approaches.]  Oh,  you 
may  come  closer — we  shall  not  eat  you  !  Why, 
you  seem  the  very  person  that  the  great  rich 
handsome  Englishman  has  fallen  so  violently  in 
love  with  !  I  '11  tell  you  all  about  it. 



The  Palace  by  the  Duomo.     MONSIGNOR,  dismissing 
his  Attendants 

MON.  Thanks,  friends,  many  thanks.  I  chiefly 
desire  life  now,  that  I  may  recompense  every  one 
of  you.  Most  I  know  something  of  already. 
What,  a  repast  prepared  ?  Benedicto  benedicatur  .  .  . 
ugh  .  .  .  ugh  !  Where  was  I  ?  Oh,  as  you  were 
remarking,  Ugo,  the  weather  is  mild,  very  unlike 
winter-weather, — but  I  am  a  Sicilian,  you  know, 
and  shiver  in  your  Julys  here.  To  be  sure,  when 
'twas  full  summer  at  Messina,  as  we  priests  used 
to  cross  in  procession  the  great  square  on  Assump- 
tion Day,  you  might  see  our  thickest  yellow 
tapers  twist  suddenly  in  two,  each  like  a  falling 
star,  or  sink  down  on  themselves  in  a  gore  of  wax. 
But  go,  my  friends,  but  go !  [7V>  the  Intendant] 
Not  you,  Ugo  !  [The  others  leave  the  apartment]  I 
have  long  wanted  to  converse  with  you,  Ugo  ! 

INTEN.  Uguccio — 

MON.  . .  .  'guccio  Stefani,  man  !  of  Ascoli,  Fermo, 
and  Fossombruno ; — what  I  do  need  instructing 
about,  are  these  accounts  of  your  administration 
of  my  poor  brother's  affairs.  Ugh  !  I  shall  never 



get  through  a  third  part  of  your  accounts :  take 
some  of  these  dainties  before  we  attempt  it,  how- 
ever. Are  you  bashful  to  that  degree  ?  For  me, 
a  crust  and  water  suffice. 

INTEN.  Do  you  choose  this  especial  night  to 
question  me  ? 

MON.  This  night,  Ugo.  You  have  managed 
my  late  brother's  affairs  since  the  death  of  our 
elder  brother:  fourteen  years  and  a  month,  all  but 
three  days.  On  the  3rd  of  December,  I  find 
him  .  .  . 

INTEN.  If  you  have  so  intimate  an  acquaintance 
with  your  brother's  affairs,  you  will  be  tender  of 
turning  so  far  back  :  they  will  hardly  bear  look- 
ing into,  so  far  back. 

MON.  Ay,  ay,  ugh,  ugh, — nothing  but  dis- 
appointments here  below  !  I  remark  a  considerable 
payment  made  to  yourself  on  this  3rd  of  Decem- 
ber. Talk  of  disappointments !  There  was  a 
young  fellow  here,  Jules,  a  foreign  sculptor,  I  did 
my  utmost  to  advance,  that  the  Church  might  be 
a  gainer  by  us  both  :  he  was  going  on  hopefully 
enough,  and  of  a  sudden  he  notifies  to  me  some 
marvellous  change  that  has  happened  in  his  notions 
of  Art;  here's  his  letter,  —  'He  never  had  a 
clearly  conceived  Ideal  within  his  brain  till  to-day. 
Yet  since  his  hand  could  manage  a  chisel,  he  has 
practised  expressing  other  men's  Ideals ;  and,  in 
the  very  perfection  he  has  attained  to,  he  foresees 
an  ultimate  failure :  his  unconscious  hand  will 

NIGHT  73 

pursue  its  prescribed  course  of  old  years,  and  will 
reproduce  with  a  fatal  expertness  the  ancient  types, 
let  the  novel  one  appear  never  so  palpably  to  his 
spirit.  There  is  but  one  method  of  escape — con- 
fiding the  virgin  type  to  as  chaste  a  hand,  he  will 
turn  painter  instead  of  sculptor,  and  paint,  not 
carve,  its  characteristics/ — strike  out,  I  dare  say, 
a  school  like  Correggio  :  how  think  you,  Ugo  ? 

INTEN.  Is  Correggio  a  painter  ? 

MON.  Foolish  Jules !  and  yet,  after  all,  why 
foolish  ?  He  may — probably  will,  fail  egregiously  ; 
but  if  there  should  arise  a  new  painter,  will  it  not 
be  in  some  such  way  by  a  poet,  now,  or  a  musician, 
(spirits  who  have  conceived  and  perfected  an  Ideal 
through  some  other  channel)  transferring  it  to 
this,  and  escaping  our  conventional  roads  by  pure 
ignorance  of  them  ;  eh,  Ugo  ?  If  you  have  no 
appetite,  talk  at  least,  Ugo ! 

INTEN.  Sir,  I  can  submit  no  longer  to  this  course 
of  yours:  first,  you  select  the  group  of  which  I 
formed  one, — next  you  thin  it  gradually, — always 
retaining  me  with  your  smile, — and  so  do  you 
proceed  till  you  have  fairly  got  me  alone  with  you 
between  four  stone  walls.  And  now  then  ?  Let 
this  farce,  this  chatter  end  now :  what  is  it  you 
want  with  me  ? 

MON.  Ugo  ! 

INTEN.  From  the  instant  you  arrived,  I  felt  your 
smile  on  me  as  you  questioned  me  about  this  and 
the  other  article  in  those  papers — why  your 


brother  should  have  given  me  this  villa,  that 
podere, — and  your  nod  at  the  end  meant, — what  ? 

MON.  Possibly  that  I  wished  for  no  loud  talk 
here  :  if  once  you  set  me  coughing,  Ugo  ! — 

INTEN.  I  have  your  brother's  hand  and  seal  to 
all  I  possess  :  now  ask  me  what  for  !  what  service 
I  did  him — ask  me  ! 

MON.  I  would  better  not — I  should  rip  up  old 
disgraces,  let  out  my  poor  brother's  weaknesses. 
By  the  way,  Maffeo  of  Forli,  (which,  I  forgot  to 
observe,  is  your  true  name,)  was  the  interdict 
ever  taken  off  you,  for  robbing  that  church  at 
Cesena  ? 

INTEN.  No,  nor  needs  be  :  for  when  I  murdered 
your  brother's  friend,  Pasquale,  for  him  .  .  . 

MON.  Ah,  he  employed  you  in  that  business, 
did  he  ?  Well,  I  must  let  you  keep,  as  you  say, 
this  villa  and  that  podere,  for  fear  the  world  should 
find  out  my  relations  were  of  so  indifferent  a 
stamp  ?  Maffeo,  my  family  is  the  oldest  in 
Messina,  and  century  after  century  have  my  pro- 
genitors gone  on  polluting  themselves  with  every 
wickedness  under  Heaven  :  my  own  father  .  .  . 
rest  his  soul ! — I  have,  I  know,  a  chapel  to  support 
that  it  may  rest :  my  dear  two  dead  brothers  were, 
— what  you  know  tolerably  well ;  I,  the  youngest, 
might  have  rivalled  them  in  vice,  if  not  in  wealth, 
but  from  my  boyhood  I  came  out  from  among 
them,  and  so  am  not  partaker  of  their  plagues. 
My  glory  springs  from  another  source ;  or  if 

NIGHT  76 

from  this,  by  contrast  only, — for  I,  the  bishop, 
am  the  brother  of  your  employers,  Ugo.  I  hope 
to  repair  some  of  their  wrong,  however  ;  so  far  as 
my  brother's  ill-gotten  treasure  reverts  to  me,  I 
can  stop  the  consequences  of  his  crime ;  and  not 
one  soldo  shall  escape  me.  Maffeo,  the  sword  we 
quiet  men  spurn  away,  you  shrewd  knaves  pick 
up  and  commit  murders  with  ;  what  opportunities 
the  virtuous  forego,  the  villanous  seize.  Because, 
to  pleasure  myself,  apart  from  other  considera- 
tions, my  food  would  be  millet-cake,  my  dress 
sackcloth,  and  my  couch  straw, — am  I  therefore 
to  let  you,  the  off-scouring  of  the  earth,  seduce 
the  poor  and  ignorant,  by  appropriating  a  pomp 
these  will  be  sure  to  think  lessens  the  abominations 
so  unaccountably  and  exclusively  associated  with 
it  ?  Must  I  let  villas  and  poderi  go  to  you,  a 
murderer  and  thief,  that  you  may  beget  by  means 
of  them  other  murderers  and  thieves  ?  No — if  my 
cough  would  but  allow  me  to  speak ! 

INTEN.  What  am  I  to  expect  ?  you  are  going  to 
punish  me  ? 

MON. — Must  punish  you,  Maffeo.  I  cannot 
afford  to  cast  away  a  chance.  I  have  whole 
centuries  of  sin  to  redeem,  and  only  a  month  or 
two  of  life  to  do  it  in  !  How  should  I  dare  to 
say  %.. 

INTEN.  '  Forgive  us  our  trespasses  '  ? 

MON.  My  friend,  it  is  because  I  avow  myself  a 
very  worm,  sinful  beyond  measure,  that  I  reject 


a  line  of  conduct  you  would  applaud,  perhaps. 
Shall  I  proceed,  as  it  were,  a-pardoning  ? — I  ? — 
who  have  no  symptom  of  reason  to  assume  that 
aught  less  than  my  strenuousest  efforts  will  keep 
myself  out  of  mortal  sin,  much  less,  keep  others 
out.  No  :  I  do  trespass,  but  will  not  double  that 
by  allowing  you  to  trespass. 

INTEN.  And  suppose  the  villas  are  not  your 
brother's  to  give,  nor  yours  to  take  ?  Oh,  you  are 
hasty  enough  just  now  ! 

MON.  1,  2 — N°  3  ! — ay,  can  you  read  the  sub- 
stance of  a  letter,  N°  3,  I  have  received  from 
Rome  ?  It  is  precisely  on  the  ground  there 
mentioned,  of  the  suspicion  I  have  that  a  certain 
child  of  my  late  elder  brother,  who  would  have 
succeeded  to  his  estates,  was  murdered  in  infancy 
by  you,  Maffeo,  at  the  instigation  of  my  late 
brother — that  the  Pontiff  enjoins  on  me  not 
merely  the  bringing  that  Maffeo  to  condign 
punishment,  but  the  taking  all  pains,  as  guardian 
of  that  infant's  heritage  for  the  Church,  to  recover 
it  parcel  by  parcel,  howsoever,  whensoever,  and 
wheresoever.  While  you  are  now  gnawing  those 
fingers,  the  police  are  engaged  in  sealing  up  your 
papers,  Maffeo,  and  the  mere  raising  my  voice 
brings  my  people  from  the  next  room  to  dispose 
of  yourself.  But  I  want  you  to  confess  quietly, 
and  save  me  raising  my  voice.  Why,  man,  do  I 
not  know  the  old  story  ?  The  heir  between  the  suc- 
ceeding heir,  and  that  heir's  ruffianly  instrument, 

NIGHT  77 

and  their  complot's  effect,  and  the  life  of  fear  and 
bribes,  and  ominous  smiling  silence?  Did  you 
throttle  or  stab  my  brother's  infant  ?  Come,  now ! 

INTEN.  So  old  a  story,  and  tell  it  no  better? 
When  did  such  an  instrument  ever  produce  such 
an  effect  ?  Either  the  child  smiles  in  his  face,  or, 
most  likely,  he  is  not  fool  enough  to  put  himself 
in  the  employer's  power  so  thoroughly :  the  child 
is  always  ready  to  produce — as  you  say — howso- 
ever, wheresoever,  and  whensoever. 

MON.   Liar ! 

INTEN.  Strike  me  ?  Ah,  so  might  a  father 
chastise  !  I  shall  sleep  soundly  to-night  at  least, 
though  the  gallows  await  me  to-morrow ;  for  what 
a  life  did  I  lead !  Carlo  of  Cesena  reminds  me 
of  his  connivance,  every  time  I  pay  his  annuity ; 
which  happens  commonly  thrice  a  year.  If  I 
remonstrate,  he  will  confess  all  to  the  good 
bishop — you  ! 

MON.  I  see  through  the  trick,  caitiff!  I  would 
you  spoke  truth  for  once.  All  shall  be  sifted,  how- 
ever— seven  times  sifted. 

INTEN.  And  how  my  absurd  riches  encumbered 
me !  I  dared  not  lay  claim  to  above  half  my 
possessions.  Let  me  but  once  unbosom  myself, 
glorify  Heaven,  and  die  ! 

Sir,  you  are  no  brutal,  dastardly  idiot  like  your 
brotKer  I  frightened  to  death :  let  us  understand 
one  another.  Sir,  I  will  make  away  with  her 
for  you — the  girl — here  close  at  hand;  not  the 


stupid  obvious  kind  of  killing ;  do  not  speak — 
know  nothing  of  her  or  me  !  I  see  her  every  day 
— saw  her  this  morning  :  of  course  there  is  to  be 
no  killing;  but  at  Rome  the  courtesans  perish 
off  every  three  years,  and  I  can  entice  her  thither — 
have,  indeed,  begun  operations  already.  There  's  a 
certain  lusty,  blue-eyed,  florid-complexioned  Eng- 
lish knave,  I  and  the  Police  employ  occasionally. 
You  assent,  I  perceive — no,  that's  not  it — assent 
I  do  not  say — but  you  will  let  me  convert  my 
present  havings  and  holdings  into  cash,  and  give 
me  time  to  cross  the  Alps?  Tis  but  a  little 
black-eyed,  pretty  singing  Felippa,  gay  silk-wind- 
ing girl.  I  have  kept  her  out  of  harm's  way  up  to 
this  present ;  for  I  always  intended  to  make  your 
life  a  plague  to  you  with  her  !  'Tis  as  well 
settled  once  and  for  ever :  some  women  I  have 
procured  will  pass  Bluphocks,  my  handsome 
scoundrel,  off  for  somebody ;  and  once  Pippa 
entangled  ! — you  conceive  ?  Through  her  singing  ? 
Is  it  a  bargain  ? 

[From   without    is    heard    the    voice   of  PIPPA, 

Overhead  the  tree-tops  meet, 
Flowers  and  grass  spring  'neatk  one's  feet ; 
There  was  nought  above  me,  and  nought  below, 
My  childhood  had  not  learned  to  know : 
For,  what  are  the  voices  of  birds 
— Ay,  and  of  beasts, — but  words — our  words, 

NIGHT  78 

Only  so  much  more  sweet  ? 

The  knowledge  of  that  with  my  life  begun  ! 

But  I  had  so  near  made  out  the  sun, 

And  counted  your  stars,  the  Seven  and  One, 

Like  thejingers  of  my  hand  : 

Nay,  I  could  all  but  understand 

Wherefore  through  heaven  the  white  moon  ranges  ; 

And  just  when  out  of  her  softjifty  changes 

No  unfamiliar  face  might  overtook  me — 

Suddenly  God  took  me  I 

[PIPPA  passes. 

MON.  [Springing  «p.]  My  people — one  and  all 
— all — within  there  !  Gag  this  villain — tie  him 
hand  and  foot !  He  dares  ...  I  know  not  half 
he  dares — but  remove  him — quick  !  Miserere  met, 
Domine  !  quick,  I  say  ! 

PIPPA' s  Chamber  again.     She  enters  it 

The  bee  with  his  comb, 

The  mouse  at  her  dray, 

The  grub  in  its  tomb, 

Wile  winter  away ; 

But  the  fire-fly  and  hedge-shrew  and  lob-worm, 

I  pray, 

How  fare  they  ? 

Ha,  ha,  best  thanks  for  your  counsel,  my  Zanze — 
'  Feast  upon  lampreys,  quaff  the  Breganze ' — 
The  summer  of  life 's  so  easy  to  spend, 


And  care  for  to-morrow  so  soon  put  away ! 

But  winter  hastens  at  summer's  end, 

And  fire-fly,  hedge-shrew,  lob-worm,  pray, 

How  fare  they  ? 

No  bidding  me  then  to  .  .  .  what  did  she  say  ? 

'Pare  your  nails  pearlwise,  get  your  small   feet 

'  More  like  .  .  .  (what  said  she  ?) — and  less  like 

canoes ' — 

How  pert  that  girl  was ! — would  I  be  those  pert 
Impudent  staring  women  !  it  had  done  me, 
However,  surely  no  such  mighty  hurt 
To  learn  his  name  who  passed  that  jest  upon  me : 
No  foreigner,  that  I  can  recollect, 
Came,  as  she  says,  a  month  since,  to  inspect 
Our  silk-mills — none  with  blue   eyes   and   thick 


Of  English-coloured  hair,  at  all  events. 
Well,  if  old  Luca  keeps  his  good  intents, 
We  shall  do  better  :  see  what  next  year  brings ! 
I  may  buy  shoes,  my  Zanze,  not  appear 
More  destitute  than  you,  perhaps,  next  year  ! 
Bluph  .  .  .  something !  I  had  caught  the  uncouth 


But  for  Monsignor's  people's  sudden  clatter 
Above  us — bound  to  spoil  such  idle  chatter 
As  ours ;  it  were,  indeed,  a  serious  matter 
If  silly  talk  like  ours  should  put  to  shame 
The  pious  man,  the  man  devoid  of  blame, 
The  .  .  .  ah,  but — ah,  but,  all  the  same, 

NIGHT  81 

No  mere  mortal  has  a  right 
To  carry  that  exalted  air ; 
Best  people  are  not  angels  quite : 
While — not  the  worst  of  people's  doings  scare 
The  devil ;  so  there 's  that  proud  look  to  spare  ! 
Which  is  mere  counsel  to  myself,  mind !  for 
I  have  just  been  the  holy  Monsignor  ! 
And  I  was  you  too,  Luigi's  gentle  mother, 
And  you  too,  Luigi ! — how  that  Luigi  started 
Out  of  the  Turret — doubtlessly  departed 
On  some  good  errand  or  another, 
For  he  pass'd  just  now  in  a  traveller's  trim, 
And  the  sullen  company  that  prowled 
About  his  path,  I  noticed,  scowled 
As  if  they  had  lost  a  prey  in  him. 
And  I  was  Jules  the  sculptor's  bride, 
And  I  was  Ottima  beside, 
And  now  what  am  I  ? — tired  of  fooling ! 
Day  for  folly,  night  for  schooling  ! 
New  year's  day  is  over  and  spent, 
111  or  well,  I  must  be  content ! 
Even  my  lily 's  asleep,  I  vow  : 
Wake  up — here 's  a  friend  I  've  pluckt  you  ! 
See — call  this  flower  a  heart' s-ease  now  ! 
And  something  rare,  let  me  instruct  you, 
Is  this — with  petals  triply  swollen, 
Three  times  spotted,  thrice  the  pollen, 
While  the  leaves  and  parts  that  witness, 
The  old  proportions  and  their  fitness, 
Here  remain,  unchanged,  unmoved  now — 


So,  call  this  pampered  thing  improved  now  ! 

Suppose  there  's  a  king  of  the  flowers 

And  a  girl-show  held  in  his  bowers — 

'  Look  ye,  buds,  this  growth  of  ours,' 

Says  he,  '  Zanze  from  the  Brenta, 

I  have  made  her  gorge  polenta 

Till  both  cheeks  are  near  as  bouncing 

As  her  .  .  .  name  there 's  no  pronouncing ! 

See  this  heightened  colour  too — 

For  she  swilled  Breganze  wine 

Till  her  nose  turned  deep  carmine — 

'Twas  but  white  when  wild  she  grew  ! 

And  only  by  this  Zanze's  eyes 

Of  which  we  could  not  change  the  size, 

The  magnitude  of  what 's  achieved 

Otherwise,  may  be  perceived ! ' 

Oh  what  a  drear,  dark  close  to  my  poor  day  ! 

How  could  that  red  sun  drop  in  that  black  cloud  ! 

Ah,  Pippa,  morning's  rule  is  moved  away, 

Dispensed  with,  never  more  to  be  allowed ! 

Day's  turn  is  over :  now  arrives  the  night's. 

Oh,  Lark,  be  day's  apostle 

To  mavis,  merle  and  throstle, 

Bid  them  their  betters  jostle 

From  day  and  its  delights ! 

But  at  night,  brother  Howlet,  far  over  the  woods, 

Toll  the  world  to  thy  chantry ; 

Sing  to  the  bats'  sleek  sisterhoods 

Full  complines  with  gallantry  : 

NIGHT  83 

Then,  owls  and  bats,  cowls  and  twats, 
Monks  and  nuns,  in  a  cloister's  moods, 
Adjourn  to  the  oak-stump  pantry  ! 

[After  she  has  begun  to  undress  herself. 
Now,  one  thing  I  should  like  to  really  know : 
How  near  I  ever  might  approach  all  these 
I  only  fancied  being,  this  long  day ! 
— Approach,  I  mean,  so  as  to  touch  them,  so 
As  to  ...  in  some  way  . . .  move  them — if  you  please, 
Do  good  or  evil  to  them  some  slight  way. 
For  instance,  if  I  wind 
Silk  to-morrow,  my  silk  may  bind 

[Sitting  on  the  bedside. 
And  broider  Ottima's  cloak's  hem. 
Ah,  me  and  my  important  part  with  them, 
This  morning's  hymn  half  promised  when  I  rose ! 
True  in  some  sense  or  other,  I  suppose, 
Though  I  passed  by  them  all,  and  felt  no  sign. 

[As  she  lies  down. 

God  bless  me !     I  can  pray  no  more  to-night. 
No  doubt,  some  way  or  other,  hymns  say  right. 
All  service  is  the  same  with  God — 
With  God,  whose  puppets,  best  and  worst, 
Are  we  :  there  is  no  last  norjirst. 

[She  sleeps. 

Printed  by  T.  and  A.  CONSTABLE,  Printers  to  His  Majesty 
at  the  Edinburgh  University  Press 





PR  Browning,  Robert 

^218  Pippa  passes